/ Rugby

Murray in Ireland team for RWC opener

Updated: Friday, 09 Sep 2011 10:58

Conor Murray - Named at scrum-half for Ireland's clash with USA on Sunday
Conor Murray - Named at scrum-half for Ireland's clash with USA on Sunday

Video

Declan Kidney sprang a surprise at scrum-half by including Conor Murray for Ireland’s Rugby World Cup Pool C opener against the USA on Sunday.

<notforsyndication>All of Ireland's Pool C games, the opening clash between New Zealand and Tonga, and every clash in the knockout stages will be shown live on RTE Television and RTE.ie/sport</notforsyndication>

The Ireland coach opted to give Munster's 22-year-old Murray the starting scrum-half berth ahead of Leinster duo Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss. Tomás O’Leary missed out on a place in the World Cup squad after a lacklustre warm-up series.

Murray will partner Jonathan Sexton, who won his duel for the starting berth with Ronan O’Gara. Reddan and O’Gara are selected on the bench.

"Conor's been going well in training and we said we'd judge it off that. If we're to know more about him, now's the time to know," said Kidney.

"He deserves a go and we think he's good enough to start. It's a big call given it's our first game in the World Cup, but what he's been doing merits his inclusion."

Kidney has opted not to risk Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien, who has been recovering from a knee problem. Shane Jennings takes the number seven jersey against the USA.

"Sean is fit to play, medically he has been given the okay," said the Ireland coach.

"But I've seen injuries like that before and he'll benefit from getting absolute fitness back. I believe in the squad too. Shane Jennings has been going well in training and has a bit of match time under his belt last month."

Tom Court steps in for Cian Healy - who suffered an eye-socket injury that prevented him from being considered - with Ulster captain Rory Best at hooker and Mike Ross at tighthead.

In the second row, the long-standing first choice pairing of Paul O’Connell and Donncha O’Callaghan will both add to their tally of caps.

Outside the Murray/Sexton half-back pairing, Kidney again went with his stalwarts with Gordon D’Arcy at 12 and captain Brian O’Driscoll at 13.

Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe were named on the wings – Andrew Trimble missing out – with Geordan Murphy pipping Rob Kearney for the full-back spot.

"We have three wingers who have been going well. Keith has had three games but two of those have been in the centre," said Kidney.

"He's only had one run on the wing and he's done well in that position in the past. Tommy comes back from injury and has played only one game.

"Andrew's losing out and he's unlucky. He's had four games and has done very well. It's a good position for us to be in."

Ireland team to face USA in Rugby World Cup Pool C on Sunday, 11 September at 7am (Irish time)

15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court

Replacements: 16 Jerry Flannery, 17 Tony Buckley, 18 Donnacha Ryan, 19 Denis Leamy, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Andrew Trimble

Live!
Powered by NewsWhip