/ Six Nations 2016

Ryan and Reddan brought in to Ireland XV

Updated: Wednesday, 07 Mar 2012 20:41

Rory Best will captain Ireland against Scotland in Saturday's Aviva Stadium clash
Rory Best will captain Ireland against Scotland in Saturday's Aviva Stadium clash


by Brendan Cole

Donnacha Ryan and Eoin Reddan will start with Rory Best set to captain the side when Ireland play Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations at Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has made minimal changes to the team in the four selections he has made to date and continued in that vein at today's announcement in Carton House.

But knee injuries suffered in the draw against France by Paul O’Connell and Conor Murray meant some switches were inevitable, and Ryan will start alongside Donncha O'Callghan in the second row while Reddan comes in for Murray at scrum-half.

Both Ryan and Reddan have featured in the final quarter of all Ireland's games to date, and an element of continuity is preserved as they have played more minutes than any other Ireland substitutes so far in the Championship. It is Ryan's first ever Six Nations starts after five appearances as a sub.

O’Connell’s absence meant Kidney also had to name a new captain and, as expected, he has opted for Ulster skipper Best.

The hooker has struggled with a rib injury this week and also had difficulty with his lineout throwing in Paris. But his standing as one of the leaders in the squad always made him the favourite to get the nod in the absence of O'Connell and Brian O'Driscoll, who remains on the sidelines after shoulder surgery.

Sean O’Brien (foot infection), Donncha O’Callaghan (ankle) and Keith Earls (tight groin) were also named in the starting line-up despite minor injury concerns. Their fitness will be monitored through the week.

Reddan's elevation means he will start in a Leinster half-back combination with Jonathan Sexton. The backline is otherwise unchanged with Gordon D'Arcy and Keith Earls named in the centre, Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble on the wings and Rob Kearney at full-back.

Mike Ross and Cian Healy continue in the propping berths either side of Best and the back-row is also unchanged with Stephen Ferris, O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip set to start.

The bench sees Mike McCarthy and Tomás O'Leary replace Ryan and Reddan. Tom Court and Sean Cronin continue backing up the front row with Peter O'Mahony continuing as cover for the back row while Ronan O'Gara and Fergus McFadden are the other backline replacements.

Best's brother Simon, who had his career prematurely ended by a heart problem captained Ireland during the 2007 tour of Argentina. He also wore the captain's armband in 2009 matches against Canada and the USA.

He will play his 58th Test on Saturday to equal Keith Wood's record as Ireland's most capped hooker.

Commenting on concerns about his fitness, he said: "It was more precautionary having the scan and it's comforting to know there's nothing sinister there. I trained fully today."

Ireland v Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations at Aviva Stadium, Sunday, 10 March at 5pm:

Ireand: 15 Rob Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Eoin Reddan 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best (capt) 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Tom Court 18 Mike McCarthy 19 Peter O'Mahony 20 Tomas O'Leary 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Fergus McFadden