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Paul O'Connell to be Ireland captain on return from injury, Heaslip to lead against Samoa

Updated: Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 23:14 | Comments

Paul O'Connell is Joe Schmidt's new Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton - hip flexor tightness cited as a factor in decision to leave him out
Paul O'Connell is Joe Schmidt's new Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton - hip flexor tightness cited as a factor in decision to leave him out

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Jamie Heaslip will captain Ireland against Samoa on Saturday - but Paul O'Connell will be new coach Joe Schmidt's full-time skipper.

Number eight Heaslip will lead Ireland this weekend as lock O'Connell has not sufficiently recovered from calf trouble to start the match.

O'Connell takes a seat on the bench, leaving 29-year-old loose forward Heaslip to assume the armband for Saturday.
But the Leinster back-rower has surrendered the full-time captaincy that he had held last season under Declan Kidney.

Paddy Jackson will start at fly-half, with Jonathan Sexton not named in the squad.

Sexton sat out a midweek training session after aggravating a niggle while goal-kicking. The 28-year-old Racing Metro fly-half was an unused replacement in his French club's surprising 9-6 Top 14 loss at bottom club Biarritz last Saturday.

Former Leinster playmaker Sexton complained of a stiff hip that day, and has now been omitted entirely from Schmidt's first matchday 23 as Ireland boss.

Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy win selection in the centres - meaning the midfield duo will rack up a combined 200 caps when they step out at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Fast-developing Leinster front-rower Jack McGrath will win his first cap at loosehead prop against the Samoans. The 24-year-old was called up to the Emerging Ireland squad to play in May's Tbilisi Cup, the inaugural round-robin tournament also including Georgia, a South Africa President's XV and Uruguay.

Schmidt has also named versatile Leinster back-three Dave Kearney on the bench, who will win his first cap if he takes the field.

Kearney could even line up alongside brother and starting full-back Rob, if he comes on at wing.

Ireland XV to play Samoa: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ulster), B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, F McFadden (all Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), C Murray (Munster); J McGrath (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross, M McCarthy, D Toner (all Leinster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy (both Leinster), D Fitzpatrick (Ulster), P O'Connell (Munster), S O'Brien, E Reddan, I Madigan, D Kearney (all Leinster).

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