Ireland team to face USA

06/06/2013

ADAM REDMOND Reports from Houston, Texas
IRELAND interim coach Les Kiss last night named two debutants in his team to face USA on Saturday (KO Sunday, 1.30am Irish time).
 
Connacht full back Robbie Henshaw and Ulster centre Stuart Olding are the new caps in a largely inexperienced side that will be captained by Peter O'Mahony - the Munster flanker becoming Ireland's youngest captain of the professional era.
 
What the team lacks for in experience it more than makes up for in potential and that is typified by Ian Madigan's selection at out half where he is partnered by Leinster team-mate  Isaac Boss.
 
Olding will also have a familiar face beside him with provincial partner Darren Cave joining him in the midfield - Cave has only won one cap since being making his debut on the North American tour four years ago.
 
Simon Zebo and Fergus McFadden man the wings with Andrew Trimble most likely held in reserve until next week's game with Canada. Felix Jones makes his return to the Test stage since injuring an ankle in Ireland's World Cup warm-up against France in 2011, but the Munster player must be satisfied with a place on the bench.
 
There he will join Ulster half-back duo Paddy Jackson and Paul Marshall alongside Mike Sherry, Jamie Hagan and Tommy O'Donnell, all of that trio will win their first caps if they get onto the pitch at the BBVA Compass Stadium here in Houston.
 
In the pack Richardt Strauss makes his first appearance in a green jersey since the November Test series in a front row that includes Mike Ross and Dave Kilcoyne, who despite his six caps has yet to play from the start for Ireland.
 
The second row will give Leinster fans a glimpse into next season with new signing Mike McCarthy pairing up with Devin Toner, who will win his sixth cap for Ireland.
 
The back row sees Ulster's Iain Henderson positioned at blindside flanker which moves captain O'Mahony to No 8, where hopefully he will get to display his running ability that was so prominent in the underage ranks and during his couple of seasons with Cork Constitution in the AIL.
 
The bench has an exciting flavour to it, particularly in the backs where Marshall and Jackson can offer some different - the scrum half in particular is capable of speeding up the game and exploiting weary legs in the final quarter. The return of Jones is also good news, his promise has long been talked about and this could be an opportunity for him to establish himself as a serious attacking threat.
 
After his breakthrough year with Munster it would also be a triumph for the province's club youths system if Tipperary man Tommy O'Donnell were to win his first cap off the bench.
 
 
IRELAND (v USA): R Henshaw, F McFadden, D Cave, S Olding, S Zebo; I Madigan, I Boss; D Kilcoyne, R Strauss, M Ross; M McCarthy, D Toner; I Henderson, C Henry, P O'Mahony (capt). 
Reps: M Sherry, J Hagan, T Court, D Tuohy, T O'Donnell, P Marshall, P Jackson, F Jones.
 

Bookmark and Share