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England 14:30 Ireland

Cullen to skipper Ireland

Heineken Cup winner fills in for the rested O'Driscoll

Last Updated: 23/09/11 3:06am

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Cullen: Handed the Ireland captaincy

Cullen: Handed the Ireland captaincy

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Experienced second row Leo Cullen will lead Ireland out against Russia in Rotorua on Sunday.

The Heineken Cup winner is one of nine changes to the Irish lie-up for the clash, with coach Declan Kidney opting to give a number of his fringe players a run out.

Cullen has been handed the captaincy as Brian O'Driscoll is rested ahead of the key clash with Italy on October 2.

Cullen is joined in a new-look pack by Donnacha Ryan, Sean Cronin and Tony Buckley, with Paul O'Connell, Stephen Ferris, Rory Best and Mike Ross making way.

In the backs Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble, Fergus McFadden, Ronan O'Gara and Isaac Boss come in the side - while there is a positional switch as Keith Earls takes over the No.13 shirt.

Freshen

Despite the numerous changes there is no place in the starting XV for Shane Jennings and Denis Leamy - with the duo having to make do with places on the bench.

"There was a need to freshen it up because we had a big Test match against Australia last Saturday," said Kidney.

"The lads coming in will bring freshness and enthusiasm. The good thing about touring and tournaments is that the guys in the squad already know the calls.

"This is the players' World Cup and they'll only buy into that if they get a chance to show themselves."

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Isaac Boss, 1 Cian Healy, 2 Sean Cronin, 3 Tony Buckley, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 5 Leo Cullen (capt), 6 Donnacha Ryan, 7 Sean O'Brien, 8 Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Mike Ross, 18 Denis Leamy, 19 Shane Jennings, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Geordan Murphy.

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