Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cunningham rings changes for Club side's French date

Gerry Hurley pulled out of last week’s game late on but he is fit enough to make a return on the bench and the former Munster player will bring some much-needed experience to the squad.
Gerry Hurley pulled out of last week’s game late on but he is fit enough to make a return on the bench and the former Munster player will bring some much-needed experience to the squad.

Paul Cunningham has made four changes to the Ireland Club team who will take on their French counterparts at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow (8.00).

The historic game kicks off following the Six Nations international and the Irish players will wear their club socks in a similar fashion to the Barbarians.

Ireland were beaten 23-18 in Scotland last weekend and with that in mind, Cunningham has brought in four new faces to freshen things up.

There are three changes in total to the back-line that started last Friday's defeat with Kevin McGrath, Sean Coughlan and Angus Lloyd all starting.

McGrath, who plays his club rugby with Division 2A side Skerries, starts on the left wing in place of Edward O'Keeffe. There is no place in the starting XV for 1A's top try scorer Stephen O'Neill who drops to the bench to make way for Blackrock College's Sean Coughlan.

The third change in the backs sees Dublin University scrum-half Lloyd come in for Neil Cronin. None of the three new personnel play their rugby in the AIL's top flight. Gerry Hurley pulled out of last week's game late on but he is fit enough to make a return on the bench and the former Munster player will bring some much-needed experience to the squad.

There is just one change to the forward pack as Cork Constitution tighthead prop Ger Sweeney is drafted in for Declan Lavery.

Mark Roche and captain Matt D'Arcy continue their partnership in midfield. Roche grabbed himself a try last time out as did Old Belvedere number eight Jonathan Slattery.

Division 1A leaders Lansdowne have three players represented in the side (Roche, Ian Prendiville and Stephen Gardner) as do Cork Constitution (Darragh Lyons, Andrew O'Driscoll and Sweeney).

Tickets are available for the game from Ticketmaster while supporters attending the Six Nations game are encouraged to continue the feast of rugby by watching some of the country's finest club players. Verdict: France Clubs

Ireland Clubs - D Riordan; S Coughlan, M Roche, M D'Arcy (c), K McGrath; D Lyons, A Lloyd; I Prendiville, A O'Driscoll, G Sweeney; S Gardner, F Walsh; S Mulholland, P Pritchard, J Slattery. Reps: E Rossiter, A Boland, P O'Shea, C Smyth, S Walsh, G Hurley, S Murphy, S O'Neill.

Irish Independent

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