Monday 23 April 2018

O’Gara replaced by Sexton for England clash

Last line of defence: Geordan Murphy will play No 15 for Ireland Photo: Getty Images
Last line of defence: Geordan Murphy will play No 15 for Ireland Photo: Getty Images

Geordan Murphy will start Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with England at Twickenham on Saturday, with Jonathan Sexton joining him in the side.

Murphy will make his first international appearance since the final match of last year's championship, when Ireland completed their first Grand Slam for 61 years against Wales.

The 31-year-old, who has been restricted to only three Guinness Premiership appearances for Leicester since dislocating his shoulder last September, replaces the injured Rob Kearney at full-back.

Sexton is preferred ahead of Ronan O'Gara, who drops to the bench following the 33-10 defeat by France, with Tomas O'Leary continuing at scrum-half.

An enforced change sees Rory Best given the hooking duties, with Jerry Flannery suspended for his dangerous lunge on Les Bleus winger Alexis Palisson.

Sean Cronin takes Best's place on a bench that also sees the return of Shane Jennings after the Leinster flanker finished a 12-week ban for eye-gouging.

The fourth and final adjustment to the side thumped by France sees Donncha O'Callaghan displace Leo Cullen, who is included among the substitutes.

O'Callaghan will be making his first appearance of the 2010 Six Nations after being sidelined for a month with a knee injury.

John Hayes will become the first player to win 100 caps for Ireland when he lines up at tighthead prop.

The Six Nations champions are looking to nudge their title bid back on track after falling short at the Stade de France.

Ireland XV: G Murphy (Leicester); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), T O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), J Hayes (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Buckley (Munster), L Cullen (Leinster), S Jennings (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), A Trimble (Ulster).

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