New Zealand v Ireland, New Plymouth, June 12
O'Gara gets nod to face All Blacks
June 8, 2010
Ronan O'Gara starts at fly-half for Ireland © Getty Images
Ronan O'Gara has seen off the challenge of Jonathan Sexton and will start at fly-half against the All Blacks in New Plymouth on Saturday.
The veteran Munster pivot will play his 99th Test for Ireland, having lost his place to Sexton in the second half of the Six Nations. The Leinster youngster has only recently returned from a broken jaw and was prevented from taking part in last week's loss to the Barbarians by an infection in his mouth close to where he had surgery.
O'Gara is partnered by Munster team-mate Tomas O'Leary, with Eoin Reddan beating Peter Stringer to a place on the bench.
Connacht duo John Muldoon and Sean Cronin will play by far the biggest game in their young Test careers. Muldoon, the standout performer against the Baa Baas, starts in place of the injured Stephen Ferris at blindside while Cronin deputises for Jerry Flannery and Rory Best at hooker.
Mick O'Driscoll joins Donncha O'Callaghan in the second-row after Paul O'Connell's withdrawal, while Keith Earls' wing spot is filled by Ulster's Andrew Trimble. Also in the back-three, Rob Kearney has regained the fullback jersey from Geordan Murphy and Tommy Bowe starts. Brian O'Driscoll skippers the side and is joined in midfield by Gordon D'Arcy.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); R O'Gara (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), S Cronin (Connacht), J Hayes (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), J Muldoon (Connacht), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: J Fogarty (Leinster), T Buckley (Munster), D Tuohy (Ulster), S Jennings (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), G Murphy (Leicester)