Two changes for Ireland
Jonathan Sexton has been given the nod at fly-half for Ireland's RBS Six Nations finale against Grand Slam chasing England.
Last Updated: 18/03/11 12:42pm
Jonathan Sexton has been given the nod at fly-half by Declan Kidney for Ireland's RBS Six Nations finale against Grand Slam chasing England.
Ireland have selected the 25-year-old for Saturday's Aviva Stadium blockbuster even though the Leinster half-back endured a torrid afternoon after appearing as a 50th-minute substitute for Ronan O'Gara in the 19-13 defeat by Wales in Cardiff.
But coach Kidney has decided to persevere with his controversial rotational policy at 10 by picking Sexton to face England, meaning O'Gara, who started the last two outings, is demoted to the bench.
One other change in personnel has been made to the side subdued at the Millennium Stadium with Luke Fitzgerald losing his place at full-back.
Fitzgerald has struggled to make a successful transition from wing to the number 15 jersey and has paid the price by being omitted from the squad altogether.
Keith Earls switches to full-back with Andrew Trimble coming in to fill the vacancy on the left wing.
"If Luke has made any errors they're probably because he's trying too hard and he's been overstretching himself," said Kidney, who is plotting to stop Martin Johnson from securing England's first Grand Slam triumph since 2003.
"Andrew has been knocking at the door for quite some time and has done well. Andrew was showing great form going into the Six Nations."
Eoin Reddan has been selected at scrum-half despite being concussed during the opening minute against Wales.
However, he requires a positive assessment from a neurologist before being given the green light to play.
With Tomas O'Leary ruled out because of an eye injury, coach Kidney's options at scrum-half are limited.
Peter Stringer, who replaced Reddan in Cardiff, continues on the bench but will be promoted to the starting line-up should his rival from Leinster fail to receive the all-clear.
Ireland: 15 K Earls (Munster), 14 T Bowe (Ospreys), 13 B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), 12 G D'Arcy (Leinster), 11 A Trimble (Ulster), 10 J Sexton (Leinster), 9 E Reddan (Leinster), 1 C Healy (Leinster), 2 R Best (Ulster), 3 M Ross (Leinster), 4 D O'Callaghan (Munster), 5 P O'Connell (Munster), 6 S O'Brien (Leinster), 7 D Wallace (Munster), 8 J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: 16 S Cronin (Connacht), 17 T Court (Ulster), 18 L Cullen (Leinster), 19 D Leamy (Munster), 20 P Stringer (Munster), 21 R O'Gara (Munster), 22 P Wallace (Ulster).