It’s Magners League all the way for Irish

Guinness PRO12 Editor
02 February 2010

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Ireland have named a complete matchday 22 of Magners League players for the opening round of the Six Nations.

Declan Kidney’s men host last year’s wooden spoon winners Italy at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon as they begin the defence of their 2009 Grand Slam.

Kidney has selected seven players from Munster, six from Leinster and one each from Ulster and the Ospreys in his starting XV for the clash with the Azzurri.

A further three Leinstermen and three Ulstermen are named among the replacements, along with one Munsterman.

The inclusion of Leinster back row Kevin McLaughlin is the major talking point, with the 25-year-old set to win his first international cap from the blindside flank following an injury to Stephen Ferris.

McLaughlin made just nine Magners League appearances in three seasons prior to the new campaign but he has since featured in eight of the nine league fixtures so far this term. 

Fellow Leinster player Gordon D’Arcy wins the battle to wear the No12 shirt, with Ulster’s Paddy Wallace dropping to the bench.

Ulster’s Andrew Trimble will make his first international appearance since March 2008 after being named on the left wing following an impressive season to date, while provincial team-mate Rory Best returns to the matchday squad after a lengthy lay off with a neck injury.

Young fly-half Jonathan Sexton is unavailable due to injury so Munster veteran Ronan O’Gara wins his 94th cap in his place. 

Ireland squad to face Italy on Saturday, February 6 at Croke Park

15 Rob Kearney (Leinster)
14 Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
13 Brian O’Driscoll (captain) (Leinster)
12 Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster)
11 Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
10 Ronan O’Gara (Munster)
9 Tomas O’Leary (Munster)

1 Cian Healy (Leinster)
2 Jerry Flannery (Munster)
3 John Hayes (Munster)
4 Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster)
5 Paul O’Connell (Munster)
6 Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster)
7 David Wallace (Munster)
8 Jamie Heaslip (Leinster) 


16 Rory Best (Ulster)
17 Tom Court (Ulster)
18 Leo Cullen (Leinster)
19 Sean O’Brien (Leinster)
20 Eoin Reddan (Leinster)
21 Paddy Wallace (Ulster)
22 Keith Earls (Munster)

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