Best, Wallace and Trimble are included in the Ireland side for Saturday night’s World Cup warm up match against France.
Trimble features in an unchanged back three alongside Kearney and Fitzgerald. Wallace keeps his spot at inside centre, this time partnering Earls in a combination that should be difficult to read for both sets of players!
Best joins a much beefed up pack and the Ulster man will need to find his arrows early and maintain his control of the scrums if he is going to see off the clamour for the return of Jerry Flannery who benches for the second game in a row. I’m expecting a difficult enough night for the Ulster hooker with France having a definite advantage in the front five. It could be one of those game where Rory does all the hard work keeping the scrum secure and the Flan comes on for a 15 minute burst to steal the glory!
With a big French pack, it’s going to be a tough enough challenge for Ireland, but they should be boosted with the return of Ryan and O’Brien to the backrow which should help around the park. However, with Dusatour, Harinordoquy and Lakafia turning out for the French, the Irish boys will be far from getting it all their own way!
I would love to see both packs try and take the ball on as the Harinordoquy/O’Brien encounter could be a classic, whether either of them will relish a full on confrontation at this stage of the build up is debatable, but if they do sparks will fly.
It looks like two evenly matched sides to me but I fancy Ireland to sneak this one with Wallace and Earls making the difference! Now there’s a statement!
|Damien Traille (Biarritz Olympique)||15||Rob Kearney (Leinster)|
|Vincent Clerc (Toulouse)||14||Andrew Trimble (Ulster)|
|David Marty (Perpignan)||13||Keith Earls (Munster)|
|Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan)||12||Paddy Wallace (Ulster)|
|Alexis Palisson (Toulon)||11||Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster)|
|François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier)||10||Ronan O’Gara (Munster)|
|Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz)||9||Eoin Reddan (Leinster)|
|Sylvain Marconnet (Biarritz)||1||Cian Healy (Leinster)|
|Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Francais)||2||Rory Best (Ulster)|
|Luc Ducalcon (Castres)||3||Mike Ross (Leinster)|
|Julien Pierre (Clermont)||4||Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster)|
|Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse)||5||Leo Cullen (Leinster) (Capt)|
|Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse) (Capt)||6||Donnacha Ryan (Munster)|
|Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz)||7||Sean O’Brien (Leinster)|
|Raphaël Lakafia (Biarritz)||8||Denis Leamy (Munster)|
|Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan)||16||Jerry Flannery (Munster)|
|Jean-Baptiste Poux (Toulouse)||17||Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks)|
|Lionel Nallet (Racing Metro 92)||18||Paul O’Connell (Munster)|
|Julien Bonnaire (Clermont)||19||Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)|
|Morgan Parra (Clermont)||20||Conor Murray (Munster)|
|David Skrela (Toulouse)||21||Fergus McFadden (Leinster)|
|Maxime Médard (Toulouse)||22||Felix Jones (Munster)|