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Geordan named on the bench for Ireland

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Tigers star Geordan Murphy has been named among the replacements for Ireland ahead of their RBS 6 Nations opener with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday.

Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has chosen a back three of Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie and Andrew Trimble, with Murphy set to make his 45th international appearance if called upon from the bench.

Murphy realises that, despite Ireland being cast as favourites, the Welsh still have the ability to beat anyone on their day.

"When they won their Grand Slam, a couple of years back, they did it by playing an all-out adventurous style," said Murphy. "You have to commend them for it. They took everybody by surprise that year, from the moment they came from behind to win in Paris.

"They have that ability. Someone was saying that they have shored it up a little bit and I suppose they are playing a bit more structured. They still have that ability to click into a more expansive game and they are a dangerous side when they do."

"The core of their team is strong and they have fantastic finishers out wide. Their half-backs are tremendous. Their back row is very strong and the second rows get through a lot of work for them. They're strong across the board and we'll have to be on top of our game to beat them."

O'Sullivan makes eight changes to the side that started against the Pacific Islanders, with Trimble, who was ruled out of the final two test matches of the Autumn series, returning to the side on the right wing in place of Luke Fitzgerald. Gordon D'Arcy takes over in the centre from Shane Horgan, who is recovering from a knee injury, to partner Captain Brian O'Driscoll. The final change in the backline is at No.10, where Ronan O'Gara starts instead of Paddy Wallace, who is named on the bench.

The front row sees two changes, with Marcus Horan and Rory Best returning to the starting XV. Malcolm O'Kelly is ruled out of contention due to his knee injury, so Donncha O'Callaghan will partner Paul O'Connell at lock, while Simon Easterby links up with David Wallace and Denis Leamy in the back row.


15 - Girvan Dempsey Terenure College/Leinster 69 caps
14 - Andrew Trimble Ballymena/Ulster 10
13 - Brian O'Driscoll (Captain) Blackrock College/Leinster 70
12 - Gordon D'Arcy Lansdowne/Leinster 26
11 - Denis Hickie St.Mary's College/Leinster 53
10 - Ronan O'Gara  Cork Constitution/Munster 66
9 - Peter Stringer Shannon/Munster 72
1 - Marcus Horan Shannon/Munster 42
2 - Rory Best Belfast Harlequins/Ulster 7
3 - John Hayes Bruff/Munster 68
4 - Donncha O'Callaghan Cork Constitution/Munster 30
5 - Paul O'Connell Young Munster/Munster 39
6 - Simon Easterby Llanelli 52
7 - David Wallace Garryowen/Munster 32
8 - Denis Leamy Cork Constitution/Munster 17


16 - Jerry Flannery Shannon/Munster 9
17 - Simon Best Belfast Harlequins/Ulster 13
19 - Neil Best Belfast Harlequins/Ulster 7
18 - Mick O'Driscoll Cork Constitution/Munster 5
20 - Isaac Boss Ballymena/Ulster 5
21 - Paddy Wallace Ballymena/Ulster 2
22 - Geordan Murphy Leicester 44

Not considered due to injury

Malcolm O'Kelly (St.Mary's College/Leinster) {Knee}