The majority of the Ireland team who thumped the Springboks last November will play against Wales this Saturday.
Coach Eddie O’Sullivan has made eight changes to the team who beat the Pacific Islanders in their final Test of 2006. The new team looks very similar to the one which dealt South Africa a 32-16 hiding on their end-of-year. Only Neil Best and Shane Horgan are missing from that mix.
Andrew Trimble, who scored a memorable try against the Boks in the 11 November game, replaces Luke Fitzgerald on the wing. Gordon D’Arcy, Ronan O’Gara, Marcus Horan, Donncha O’Callaghan, David Wallace, Denis Leamy and Rory Best are other players returning to the team after the previous international.
Ireland disposed of Wales by a comfortable 31-5 in 2006, and given their form in the past year they are expected to get home against their Celtic counterparts fairly easily.
Ireland - 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Denis Hickie, 10 Ronan O’Hara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Simon Easterby, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Rory Best, 1 Marcus Horan. Subs: 16 Jerry Flannery, 17 Simon Best, 18 Mick O’Driscoll, 19 Neil Best, 20 Isaac Boss, 21 Paddy Wallace, 22 Geordan Murphy.