Lions galore for Ireland

Ireland have selected a starting XV featuring 13 members of the original 2009 Lions squad for Sunday's autumn Test against Australia at Croke Park. [more]

Lions galore for Ireland

Ireland have selected a starting XV featuring 13 members of the original 2009 Lions squad for Sunday’s autumn Test against Australia at Croke Park.

Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll skippers the side from outside centre as he wins his 100th international cap having played 93 times for Ireland and six times for the Lions.

Only debutant prop Cian Healy and Ulster inside centre Paddy Wallace did not tour with Ian McGeechan and co this summer.
Jerry Flannery returns to international rugby following his recovery from the elbow injury that prevented him from traveling to South Africa with the Lions, and the same is true of Munster team-mate Tomas O’Leary.

The scrum-half had been named in McGeechan’s 37-man squad in late April but his Lions dream came to an end just days later when he suffered an horrific ankle injury in a Magners League clash with the Scarlets.

All bar one of the backline were original choices for the Lions squad, with Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, O’Driscoll, Luke Fitzgerald and Ronan O’Gara all facing the Springboks this summer after O’Leary was forced to pull out prior to departure.

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It’s a similar story up front, where Healy is the only non-Lion in a formidable-looking pack.

The Leinster youngster is joined by Flannery and veteran double Lions tourist John Hayes in the front row, with 2009 Lions skipper Paul O’Connell packing down alongside Munster team-mate Donncha O’Callaghan at lock.

Ulster’s Stephen Ferris wears the No6 shirt in a back row that also includes David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip.

Fellow Lion Keith Earls takes a place on the bench as his versatility allows him to cover the back three and outside centre if needed.

The uncapped duo of fly-half Jonathan Sexton and Sean Cronin are named among the replacements, with Cronin the only Connacht player selected in the matchday squad.

Ireland (vs Australia, Sunday, November 15, Croke Park, kick-off 3pm)

Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin/Munster); Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster), John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster), David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)

Replacements: Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht), Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Johnathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)

Bold denotes Lions selection

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