Earls returns to bolster Ireland
June 21, 2012
Keith Earls returns to the left wing for Ireland's clash with the All Blacks on Saturday © Getty Images
Ireland have made three changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's clash with New Zealand in Hamilton.
Keith Earls missed last weekend's 22-19 defeat to the All Blacks in Auckland with a chest injury but has now recovered and will start on the left wing, having made his last appearance at inside centre, and as a result Andrew Trimble drops to the bench.
"Keith's stated preference is he prefers to play at 13 but Brian (O'Driscoll) is not one to give it up too easily," said coach Declan Kidney. "He is a great team player and he is happy to be back in. He has rehabbed quite well, which is a credit to the medical team and himself for getting over (his shoulder injury). He has trained well this week."
Elsewhere, Paddy Wallace, who only joined the squad in New Zealand earlier this week as a replacement for the injured Gordon D'Arcy, goes straight into the side at inside centre in place of his injured team-mate. "Paddy has always been a great player for Ireland," added Kidney. "We talk about the squad ethic and what Paddy has given in the background, and in his 10 years' service to the Irish team, has been fantastic."
Peter O'Mahony, who came off the bench during the second Test, is selected to start at No.8 as Jamie Heaslip is ruled out due to a broken finger. Back-row Chris Henry comes into the replacements to fill the spot left after O'Mahony's promotion to the starting XV.
Ireland: R Kearney; F McFadden, B O'Driscoll (captain), P Wallace, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross, D Tuohy, D Ryan, K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, P O'Mahony.
Replacements: D Fitzpatrick, S Cronin, D O'Callaghan, C Henry, E Reddan, R O'Gara, A Trimble.
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