Mixed fortunes for Irish Lions

Ireland have recalled three injured Lions to their starting line up for Saturday's clash with England but will be without skipper Brian O'Driscoll in Dublin. [more]

Mixed fortunes for Irish Lions

Ireland have recalled three injured Lions to their starting line up for Saturday’s clash with England but will be without skipper Brian O’Driscoll in Dublin.

Tommy Bowe, Stephen Ferris and David Wallace will all make their first starts of the summer five days after being named in Declan Kidney’s 30-man squad for the World Cup.

Bowe and Wallace, who both featured in all three Tests for the 2009 Lions in South Africa, missed the loss to Scotland and the back-to-back defeats against France with foot and hamstring injuries respectively.

Ferris finally made his return to action as a replacement last weekend after an eight-month lay-off with knee problems and the Ulster flanker is now named in an Ireland starting XV for the first time since November.

Geordan Murphy, who played for an Ireland Select XV against Connacht and had been expected to miss out on World Cup selection until Felix Jones’ injury setback, comes into the side at full back after Declan Kidney chose to rest fellow Lion Rob Kearney.

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Kidney has also rested talismanic captain O’Driscoll and in-form flanker Sean O’Brien in order to prevent any further damage to the shoulder stinger and knee knocks they picked up last time out.

"Brian's running around outside, but it was prudent for us not to put him into a contact situation on Saturday," said Kidney whose men face Australia, Italy, Russia and the USA in Pool C.

"He has made good progress, especially over the last 24 hours, but with the game coming this week and a full tournament coming up, it just wasn't prudent to put him in the mix.

"Sometimes you just need to rest up and get them out of the system.

"Sean will be fine – it wasn't prudent to include him this weekend but he's in training already and he'll work his way back in.

"Our priority is to get all 30 players match fit with game time under their belts.

"England have selected a very physical side so we have to get ourselves right and get ready for a physical battle."

Lions captain Paul O’Connell leads Ireland in O’Driscoll’s absence, with Kidney making seven changes from the team beaten 26-22 by the French a week ago.

Keith Earls moves from wing to centre; Andrew Trimble switches from the right wing to the left and Lions veteran Ronan O’Gara and Eoin Reddan start at halfback.

Jerry Flannery is named at hooker, while Cian Healy has recovered from a bruised foot to continue at loosehead prop.

Ireland (vs England, Saturday, 2.30pm)

Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers); Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Keith Earls (Munster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Jerry Flannery (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Paul O'Connell (Munster, captain), Stephen Ferris (Ulster), David Wallace (Munster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)

Replacements: Rory Best (Ulster), Tom Court (Ulster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Denis Leamy (Munster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster)

NB Bold denotes Lion

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