Welsh duo return to face Irish
March 8, 2011
Leigh Halfpenny returns for Wales © Getty Images
Leigh Halfpenny and Jonathan Davies have both been recalled to the Wales starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations meeting with Ireland in Cardiff.
Blues ace Halfpenny replaces Morgan Stoddart on the right wing, while Davies' return in midfield sees Jamie Roberts switch to outside centre and James Hook, who had been a doubt for the game with a calf problem, revert to fly-half at the expense of Stephen Jones. The pack is unchanged to the one which started against Italy last time out.
Meanwhile, there is a place for Sale Sharks scrum-half Dwayne Peel on the bench alongside Scarlets duo Jones and Stoddart.
Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has named an unchanged side. Despite the return to full fitness of Tomas O'Leary, who missed the 21-18 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield with a back injury, Leinster's Eoin Reddan has held on to the No.9 jersey, while O'Leary's Munster colleague Peter Stringer will continue to provide cover from the bench.
Reddan will again team up with Ronan O'Gara in the half-backs, with the latter again having been preferred to Jonathan Sexton. O'Gara goes into the game just points shy of the 1,000 points mark in Test rugby. In addition, Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll is also just one try away from equalling Ian Smith's all-time Championship try-scoring record of 24.
Wales: L Byrne (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys); J Hook (Ospreys), M Phillips (Ospreys); P James (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets, captain), C Mitchell (Ospreys); B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys); D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys).
Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), two from R McCusker (Scarlets), A Powell (London Wasps) and J Thomas (Ospreys), D Peel (Sale Sharks), S Jones (Scarlets), M Stoddart (Scarlets)
Ireland: L Fitzgerald (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster); R O'Gara (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster); D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster); S O'Brien (Leinster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster)
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Court (Ulster), L Cullen (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), J Sexton (Leinster), P Wallace (Ulster)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (RSA)
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