Thursday 12 December 2019

Reddan relishing captaincy chance

Eoin Reddan has admitted he refused to let himself dream of captaining Ireland as a youngster harbouring ambitions of a Test career.

The 56-cap scrum-half conceded it will be "surreal" to lead Ireland for the first time against Georgia at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Ireland have made 13 changes from the 29-15 victory over South Africa, but Leinster half-back Reddan remains undeterred by the wholesale shifts.

"It's all a bit surreal, especially when I heard earlier in the week, but it's an exciting challenge," said Reddan.

"Joe let me know earlier in the week, just casually enough to be honest.

"I'm sure he thought it was casual, but I was pretty shocked and happy to hear it.

"Maybe it's something you couldn't even let yourself dream of doing growing up.

"I always wanted to play for Ireland, but I didn't probably even ever get to dream that I might have the chance to do what I'm going to do on Sunday."

Reddan forms an all-new half-back pairing with Leinster club mate Ian Madigan, with Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton among the rested multitude.

Georgia are at full strength bar the absences of twin totems Davit Zirakashvili and Mamuka Gorgodze, and Reddan has challenged Ireland not to take their opponents lightly in any respect.

"It will be a challenge to play against a fairly settled team when we haven't had very long together," said Reddan.

"They are very strong in certain areas, and there are a lot of people out there expecting something different from what might pan out.

"The more you know about them, the more respect you have for them: the people who will respect them the most will be the 15 lads running out onto the pitch.

"The only way you can get any long-term improvement is by focusing on performance and tomorrow will be no different.

"It's a big chance for a lot of players and one no one intends to waste."

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