Kidney names four new faces for Mission Impossible, Part Two
They may end up being little more than new lambs to the slaughter, but Declan Kidney has named four fresh faces in the Ireland team to face New Zealand on Saturday.
Munster players are the biggest losers from the humbling experience in Auckland last weekend. Keith Earls’ withdrawal is a forced one as he is still hurting from the pectoral injury suffered on Saturday, while Simon Zebo and Peter O’Mahony have also been culled and will warm the pine on the replacements bench in Christchurch.
With Earls ruled out, Brian O’Driscoll will be joined by his old mucker Gordon D’Arcy in the centre, Andrew Trimble has been recalled instead of Zebo on the wing and Kevin McLaughlin will join Leinster colleagues Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip in the back row.
In the final change, Mike Ross’ return can only help a scrum that performed pretty well last weekend, with Declan Fitzpatrick fit to take his place on the bench having overcome a glute injury suffered in the first test.
Ireland take on New Zealand at 8.35am Irish time on Saturday and if you can force yourself to roll out of the scratcher on time, it’s live on Sky Sports 2 from 8am.
Ireland team to play New Zealand: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brian O'Driscoll (Captain), Gordon D'Arcy; Andrew Trimble; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Dan Tuohy, Donnacha Ryan; Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Declan Fitzpatrick, Donncha O'Callaghan, Peter O'Mahony, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O'Gara, Simon Zebo.