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Murray set for surprise start

DECLAN KIDNEY is poised to unleash the heavy artillery when he names his team tomorrow to take on the USA in Sunday’s World Cup opener, but Ireland’s least experienced player is ready to step up alongside the front-liners.

Conor Murray won his first cap last month with a cameo off the bench against France in Bordeaux, and selection for Ireland’s Pool C opener would complete a remarkable rise – and put him in a strong position to retain his place for the clash with Australia six days later.

Tom Court is set to be named at loosehead prop, with Rory Best and Mike Ross likely to complete the front-row.

Sean O’Brien has made a strong recovery from a knee injury, but Kidney may opt for Shane Jennings at openside, while Stephen Ferris and Jamie Heaslip need game time next to him in the back-row.

Meanwhile, Jerry Flannery still struggles to understand why Ireland imploded during the 2007 World Cup.

“If you ask me to look back at the last World Cup I can’t tell you why it was so bad,” he said.

“It was a big shock for the squad. Getting out of the pool has to be our first target.”