Ruddock to face Maori
RHYS RUDDOCK is ready to start for Ireland against the New Zealand Maori on Friday night having just jetted in from the U-20 World Cup in Argentina, where he was captaining the Irish effort.
The 19-year-old joined the senior squad in Rotorua yesterday, having received a call-up due to Jamie Heaslip's five-week suspension and John Muldoon's broken wrist in Saturday's 66-28 defeat to the All Blacks in New Plymouth.
Jonathan Sexton and Peter Stringer could form the half-back combination, with Dan Tuohy and Ed O'Donoghue in line to resume their Ulster second-row partnership. Mick O'Driscoll is receiving treatment for the back spasm that forced his early withdrawal on Saturday.
The front-row is expected to feature props Marcus Horan and Tom Court, with John Fogarty -- who won his first Irish cap off the bench in New Plymouth -- at hooker. No 8 Chris Henry and open-side Niall Ronan could complete the back-row alongside Ruddock, with Gavin Duffy and Paddy Wallace in the centre and a back three of Geordan Murphy, Shane Horgan and Johne Murphy.
The Maori also name their team today and have a host of All Blacks to choose from -- including centre Luke McAlister, second-row Isaac Ross, hooker Corey Flynn and open-side Liam Messam. Friday's match is part of the Maori centenary celebrations, which began with a 37-31 win over the New Zealand Barbarians and also feature a match against England.
The Irish players who started Saturday's Test did not train yesterday, while the remainder, including Ruddock, had a run-out at Rotorua's International Stadium, which will host Friday's showdown.
IRELAND (possible) -- G Murphy; S Horgan, G Duffy, P Wallace, J Murphy; J Sexton, P Stringer; M Horan, J Fogarty, T Court; E O'Donoghue, D Tuohy; R Ruddock, N Ronan, C Henry.