Full-back Murphy, who only recovered from an ankle injury in time to play in Ireland’s warm-up programme, is recalled to an experienced backline which also includes Tommy Bowe, captain Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy.
Murphy made his Test debut against the USA in 2000, scoring two tries in his first senior international outing.
Former Tigers flanker Shane Jennings is included in the Irish forward pack.
Nine of the starting team making their debuts at a Rugby World Cup tournament.
Ireland (v USA, Sunday)
15 Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers)
14 Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
13 Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) Captain
12 Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
10 Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)
9 Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
1 Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
2 Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3 Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4 Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
6 Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
7 Shane Jennings (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)
8 Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
16 Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
17 Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks)
18 Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
19 Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
20 Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21 Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)