Six Nations latest
4 Mar 2008
Ireland have recalled Paul O’Connell and Rory Best for Saturday’s clash with Wales at Croke Park.
O’Connell replaces Mick O’Driscoll at lock, while Best will pack down at hooker in place of Bernard Jackman. Geordan Murphy and Girvan Dempsey will undergo fitness tests later this week and a vacancy has been left at full-back.
Coach Eddie O’Sullivan said he will give both Murphy, the incumbent fullback, and Dempsey until Thursday before making a decision on their fitness.
Ireland - TBA, Bowe, B O’Driscoll (c), Trimble, Kearney, O’Gara, Reddan, Horan, Best, Hayes, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Leamy, D Wallace, Heaslip.
Subs: Jackman, Buckley, M O’Driscoll, Easterby, Stringer, P Wallace, Horgan.
Dragons look for fire from Jones
Wales have retained veteran flyhalf Stephen Jones for their Triple Crown decider in Ireland on Saturday.
Mike Phillips partners Jones at scrumhalf and is one of four changes made by coach Warren Gatland. Lock Alun Wyn Jones replaces Ian Evans, while hooker Matthew Rees and prop Rhys Thomas step aside for Huw Bennett and Adam Jones.
Wales coach Warren Gatland said: “A number of players have had a run-out for us in the first three games of the championship and selection in most areas could be put down to the toss of a coin which is testament to the effort the guys have put in.
“Ireland are a fantastic side. They have been a top five team in world rugby for a number of years and we have an opportunity to measure ourselves and find out where we are. We go there as underdogs.
“We are in a great position going for a Triple Crown, which would be nice, but the most important thing to us is the championship. The Triple Crown would be the icing on the cake, but at this stage we just need to make sure our performance is where we want it to be and take it from there.”
Wales – Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Mark Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), Gavin Henson (Ospreys), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Ian Gough (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys) (c).
Subs: Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Gareth Delve (Gloucester), Dwayne Peel (Llanelli Scarlets), James Hook (Ospreys), Sonny Parker (Ospreys).
Taylor back to torture Poms
Simon Taylor returns to Scotland’s run-on side for their Calcutta Cup clash against England at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Scotland have made two changes to their starting 15, one of which is Taylor coming into the side for Kelly Brown at No 8, while inside centre Graeme Morrison returns from four years in the Test wilderness.
“Simon has played well in the three games for his club [Stade Francais] since recovering from a hand injury and he is now ready to return to the national side,” Scotland coach Frank Hadden said.
“Graeme Morrison is being rewarded for his outstanding performances for the Scotland A team, away in Italy and then against Ireland A at Perth.”
Jason White bumps Andrew Henderson off the wood, and he is joined there by Alasdair Dickinson, Craig Smith, and Rory Lawson. Gavin Kerr, Ross Rennie and Chris Cusiter are omitted from the 22.
Scotland - 15 Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh), 14 Rory Lamont (Sale Sharks), 13 Simon Webster (Edinburgh), 12 Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), 11 Nikki Walker (Ospreys), 10 Chris Paterson (Gloucester), 9 Mike Blair (Edinburgh, captain), 8 Simon Taylor (Stade Francais), 7 Allister Hogg (Edinburgh), 6 Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), 5 Scott MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets), 4 Nathan Hines (Perpignan), 3 Euan Murray (Northampton Saints), 2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh), 1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh).
Subs: 16 Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors), 17 Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), 18 Craig Smith (Edinburgh), 19 Jason White (Sale Sharks), 20 Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors), 21 Rory Lawson (Gloucester), 22 Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors).
Cipriani starts for PomsÂ
Danny Cipriani will start his first test for England when they face Scotland at Murrayfield.
The Wasps flyhalf will start at fullback however, replacing Iain Balshaw, while Bath hooker Lee Mears will makes his fourth start – the last of which came against the Springboks in 2006.
Cipriani came on as a replacement against Wales and Italy earlier in the campaign, but now gets a chance to cement his place in the team, even though out of position. Leicester flank Tom Croft also gets a first start for the injured James Haskell.
England – 15 Danny Cipriani, 14 Paul sackey, 13 Jaimie Noon, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Nick easter, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Steve Borthwick,4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery (Capt), 2 Lee Mears, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Subs: 16 George Chuter, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Ben Kay,19 Luke Narraway,20 Paul Hodgson, 21 Matthew Tait, 22 Iain Balshaw.