Eddie O’Sullivan has made five changes to the Ireland team that beat Australia in November. This Irish starting 15 is similar to the “traditional” 15 that I guessed at last week but I got a fair few wrong:
OÃ¢â¬â¢KellyO’Callaghan N BestS Easterby
O’Kelly was forced out due to a knee injury, but I’m confused over the selection of Simon Easterby before Neil Best (ok, so it’s a tight call), and I really thought that Murphy had done enough during Leicester’s destruction of Munster’s home record last week to warrant a start – EOS’s play-at-home prejudice again perhaps?
Finally to hooker – hand on heart, Rory Best is just not as strong as Flannery, sorry Ulster boys! I wonder if it’s fitness related? If things are tight going into the last 20 expect that substitution for sure.
Here’s the team list in full:
IRELAND v Wales : G Dempsey (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster), B O’Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D’Arcy (Leinster), D Hickie (Leinster), R O’Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), M Horan (Munster), R Best (Ulster), J Hayes (Munster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), P O’Connell (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli Scarlets), D Wallace (Munster), D Leamy (Munster).
Replacements: J Flannery (Munster), S Best (Ulster), N Best (Ulster), M O’Driscoll (Munster), I Boss (Ulster), P Wallace (Ulster), G Murphy (Leicester).