Gatland picks strongest side for opening game
September 29, 1999
Warren Gatland has named an unchanged side for Ireland's opening Pool E fixture against the USA on Saturday evening.
"This is arguably our strongest side," said Gatland. "You cannot take chances in the World Cup and the composition of the side is an indication that we are not going to take the USA lightly."
The side sees Dion O'Cuinneagain remain at No.8 while Andy Ward and Trevor Brennan make up the back row and Eric Miller remains on the bench.
Jeremy Davidson and Paddy John's have held of the challenge of Malcolm O'Kelly to form an all Ulster second row.
Paul Wallace who was injured in the game against the Pumas has regained full fitness and joins fellow Lion Keith Wood in the front row.
Davidson and Brennan were unable to take part in the squad's training session on Wednesday, but both are expected to be fit.
Davidson has a sore back while Brennan is suffering from an upset stomach but team manager Donal Lenihan was unconcerned. "Jeremy rested as a precaution and Trevor has only a mild overnight upset.
Both will be fit," said Lenihan.
Ireland side v. USA: 15-Conor O'Shea; 14-Justin Bishop, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12-Kevin Maggs, 11-Matt Mostyn; 10-David Humphreys, 9-Tom Tierney; 8-Dion O'Cuinneagain (captain), 7-Andy Ward, 6-Trevor Brennan, 5-Jeremy Davidson, 4-Paddy Johns, 3-Paul Wallace, 2-Keith Wood, 1-Peter Clohessy.
Replacements: Jonathan Bell, Eric Elwood, Brian O'Meara, Eric Miller, Malcolm O'Kelly, Justin Fitzpatrick, Ross Nesdale.