Ireland A open their Barclays Churchill Cup account tomorrow night against the USA at Richardson Stadium, Kingston.
Coach Allen Clarke has selected a team for a forward battle. Ulster players Mark McCrea and Ryan Caldwell both start along with “Old Boys” Neil Best and Roger Wilson. Tom Court and David Pollock will start from the bench. There is no place for, or mention off, Ian Humphreys and Darren Cave.
With Ireland expecting a tough game up front and 5 forwards on the bench it appears that Cave and Humphreys have paid the price. However, there does appear to be a good cutting edge with O’Leary, Sexton, Earls and McCrea all sharp in attack. Defence may be a problem against a stronger side.
USA will be smarting after their heavy defeat against England Saxons and Ireland will need to set down a marker ahead of what should be the group decider against the Saxons on Saturday. Expect a frenetic opening 20 minutes with Ireland to pull well clear in the second half.
The match will be covered on Sky Sports 1 tomorrow night (Wednesday) from midnight.
The Ireland A to play the USA in the Barclays Churchill Cup, Richardson Stadium, Kingston, Wednesday, June 11 is as follows –
15. Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster) 14. Mark McCrea (Malone/Ulster) 13. *Kieran Lewis (Garryowen/Munster) 12. Keith Earls (Garryowen/Munster) 11. Brian Tuohy (Cornish Pirates) 10. Johnathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 9. *Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin/Munster)
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 2. Denis Fogarty (Cork Constitution/Munster) 3. Michael Ross (Harlequins) 4. *Bob Casey (London Irish) (capt) 5. Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon/Ulster) 6. *Neil Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 7. *Johnny O’Connor (Corinthians/Connacht) 8. *Roger Wilson (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
16. Tom Court (Malone/Ulster) 17. Sean Cronin (Shannon/Munster) 18. *Trevor Hogan (Shannon/Leinster) 19. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 20. David Pollock (Dungannon/Ulster) 21. Frank Murphy (Leicester) 22. Ian Keatley (Clontarf/Leinster)
N.B. * Capped at full international level
Coach – Allen Clarke
Assistant Coach – Dave O’Mahony
John McKibbin – Team Manager
IRELAND ‘A’ TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:
Wednesday, June 11, 2008: USA v Ireland ‘A’ at Richardson Stadium, Kingston
Saturday, June 14, 2008: Ireland ‘A’ v England Saxons at Fletchers Fields, Toronto
Saturday, June 21, 2008: Barclays Churchill Cup finals day at Toyota Park, Chicago