Irish rugby team make 13 changes for Test

Ireland have changed virtually their entire starting line-up to play Georgia in Dublin on Sunday, with coach Joe Schmidt unveiling a side showing 13 changes from the team that beat South Africa.


Only winger Simon Zebo and prop Mike Ross have been retained from the starting side that inflicted a shock 29-15 defeat upon the Springboks at Lansdowne Road last weekend.

But with the match against second-tier Georgia falling in the middle of a run of three home Ireland internationals this month that culminate with next week’s clash against Australia, Schmidt has decided to ring the changes.

Leinster flanker forward Dominic Ryan and Munster lock Dave Foley are both set to make their Test debuts this weekend while Munster’s Robin Copeland will join them if he comes off the bench.

The 24-year-old Ryan has been selected at blindside flanker, despite being best known as an openside and features alongside Robbie Diack and Tommy O’Donnell in a new-look back row.

Foley, 26, has won six caps for Emerging Ireland, after making his senior Munster debut in 2010.

He has been paired with Leinster’s Mike McCarthy at lock, with captain Paul O’Connell rested and Devin Toner on the bench.

Meanwhile halfback Eoin Reddan will captain Ireland for the first time on the occasion of his 57th cap.

Reddan’s Munster teammate Ian Madigan is at five-eighth.

Fit-again Gordon D’Arcy returns at centre where the Leinster veteran partners Darren Cave in midfield, with Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne both rested.

Payne is still suffering from a suspected foot sprain, but would not have featured against Georgia even if he was fit.

First-choice Ireland half-backs Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton were among a group of Test regulars left out of the matchday 23 by Schmidt.

Ireland: Felix Jones; Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Gordon D’Arcy, Simon Zebo; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan (capt), Robbie Diack, Tommy O’Donnell, Dominic Ryan, Mike McCarthy, Dave Foley; Mike Ross, Richardt Strauss, Dave Kilcoyne. Bench: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Rodney Ah You, Devin Toner, Robin Copeland, Kieran Marmion, Ian Keatley, Stuart Olding