Sport Rugby

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Club side's home comforts

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

IRELAND's club side have never lost to an England Counties team at home, and this year's crop will be hoping to preserve that record tonight in Cork.

Coaches Conor Twomey and David Murphy have named a strong team, with plenty of experience from last year's campaign returning.

Centres Stuart Morrow and Killian Lett link up again, while their experience is supplemented by new caps Darragh Fanning, Tim McCoy and Richie Lane, who make up a physical back three.

Cork Con scrum-half Gerry Hurley captains the side on his home ground, partnering Lansdowne's Craig Ronaldson at half-back. The out-half has been impressive in Mike Ruddock's league-leading side and will be hoping to take that form into tonight's game as the only member of the All-Ireland League's form side in the line-up.

Up front, Ben Reilly and William Ryan came in as cover for injuries and are put straight into the starting team. The back-row of Ryan, UCD's Danny Kenny and Clontarf former Con No 8 Frank Cogan will hope to provide go-forward ball for the backs.

The visitors have a number of returning players as well, but this Irish side should be strong enough to keep the home record going.

Verdict: Ireland

IRELAND CLUB XV – R Mullane (Shannon); T McCoy (Clontarf), K Lett (Clontarf), S Morrow (Ballynahinch), D Fanning (St Mary's); C Ronaldson (Lansdowne), G Hurley (capt, Cork Constitution); C McMahon (St Mary's), G Slattery (Young Munster), K Griffin (Shannon); E Kelly (UL Bohemian), B Reilly (Clontarf), W Ryan (UCC), D Kenny (UCD), F Cogan (Clontarf). Reps: P O'Regan (Old Belvedere), R Byrne (UCD), G Moore (Malone), N Melbourne (Young Munster), S Cronin (Clontarf), B Keeshan (Dolphin), J Thompson (Ballynahinch).

ENGLAND COUNTIES XV (from) – Forwards: D Allen, J Burton, D Dickinson, T Fidler, M George, M Hall, J Inglis, B Johnson, R Kalbraier, S Shires, W Warden, B West; Backs: J Adams, L Barker, S Barrow, N Edwards, C Elder , M Heeks, P Hodgkinson , W Hurrell, O Marchon, R Teague.

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