Rory Best will captain Ireland for the third time against Scotland at the Aviva on Saturday. The 57-times capped hooker previously captained the side against Canada and the USA back in 2009. Both those games resulted in wins for Ireland and Declan Kidney will hope that Best has the same winning effect as captain this time too. Best’s form and experience made him the most obvious choice to skipper the side.
In the other team news, Donnacha Ryan finally gets the start his form deserves, albeit only because of the injury to Paul O’Connell. With Donncha O’Callaghan beside him in the second-row, the Munster pair will have a serious challenge on their hands against the Scots, particularly from Richie Gray and John Barclay at lineout time. Ryan will be keen to show Kidney exactly what he has been missing in the loose. He stole lineout ball against both Wales and Italy after coming off the bench and hopefully can take over from O’Connell in that regard.
Eoin Reddan replaces Conor Murray at scrumhalf, a switch that was widely discussed in the build-up to Paris. It will be intriguing to see whether Reddan’s supposedly quicker service allows Johnny Sexton more freedom and time on the ball. Tomas O’Leary must be surprised to find himself back on the bench, but he does at least offer something different to Reddan. Connacht’s Mike McCarthy is also promoted to the bench, offering a natural number 4 jumper in case of a lineout meltdown. His form this season makes it a deserved call-up.
What do you think of the team? Should Kidney have made more changes for Saturday? With the Championship gone, could he have used this game to blood some new players? Are you feeling confident ahead of Saturday or do you think Scotland could cause an upset? Comment below with all your views!
Ireland team to face Scotland:
15. Rob Kearney (Leinster)
14. Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
13. Keith Earls (Munster)
12. Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster)
11. Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
9. Eoin Reddan (Leinster)
1. Cian Healy (Leinster)
2. Rory Best (Ulster, capt.)
3. Mike Ross (Leinster)
4. Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster)
5. Donnacha Ryan (Munster)
6. Stephen Ferris (Ulster)
7. Sean O’Brien (Leinster)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
16. Sean Cronin (Leinster) 17. Tom Court (Ulster) 18. Mike McCarthy (Connacht) 19. Peter O’Mahony (Munster) 20. Tomas O’Leary (Munster) 21. Ronan O’Gara (Munster) 22. Fergus McFadden (Leinster).
Photo courtesy: Ken Bohane, Art Widak.
Poor enough management I reckon. Why not give the other lads a good run? Start O’ Mahony/ McFadden maybe even McCarthy/ O’ Malley and others for the craic. Nothing to lose at this stage!
Typical Kidney I suppose, never does anything unexpected. Hopefully O’Mahony will get half an hour anyway. Thought he may, just maybe, have put macfadden in for darcy. Can’t forget how strong Scotland are though.
Yeah totally agree Flood, I think we’re beyond expecting anything different from him. And Scotland ran France close in their last game so can’t be underestimated!
At the same time, I see what you’re saying Niall, with no chance of winning the tournament these last two games would have been an ideal chance to bring in at least one or two new faces. Would def like to see a bit more of POM at this level. It’s just not the Kidney way though. O’Leary on the bench says it all really!
Still, I’ll be happy with more of what we saw in the first half in Paris, aggression and desire! We have some of the best players in the world right now, time to start getting the best out of them.