Rugby World Cup 2011
Key men return for Ireland
September 14, 2011
Jamie Heaslip believes that Ireland are capable of beating anyone at the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has recalled fit-again Rob Kearney, Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien for Saturday's pivotal Rugby World Cup Pool C showdown with Australia in Auckland.
All three players sat out their country's tournament opener against the United States on Sunday. Kearney missed the game with a groin strain but he has been passed fit to reclaim the fullback berth from Geordan Murphy, who is struggling with a hamstring problem and has dropped out of the squad altogether.
Healy slots back in at loose-head for Tom Court after recovering from the eye injury which delayed his arrival in New Zealand, while Sean O'Brien, who strained knee ligaments in last month's warm-up loss at home to France, returns to the back-row at the expense of Denis Leamy.
The only other change to the side which defeated the Eagles 22-10 in New Plymouth comes at scrum-half, with Conor Murray making way for Eoin Reddan.
That means that Jonathan Sexton has held on to the No.10 jersey in spite of his disappointing goal-kicking display against the Americans and that Keith Earls has again been preferred to the in-form Andrew Trimble on the left wing, the latter having to again make do with a seat on the bench.
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell; Stephen Ferris, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Tom Court, Donnacha Ryan, Denis Leamy; Conor Murray, Ronan O'Gara, Andew Trimble.
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