Kidney names team to face Fiji
Ireland have retained only three players for Saturday’s non-cap international against Fiji at Thomond Park.
Captain Jamie Heaslip, scrum-half Conor Murray and tighthead Mike Ross are the surviving trio who started last weekend’s 16-12 defeat by South Africa.
The three uncapped players in the XV are supplied by Ulster – inside centre Luke Marshall, wing Craig Gilroy and fly-half Paddy Jackson.
In-form Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall features on a strong the bench that includes Cian Healy, Donnacha Ryan and Jonathan Sexton.
New Zealand-born prop Michael Bent, who made his Test debut against the Springboks despite arriving in Ireland only two weeks earlier, must settle for a place among the replacements after losing out to Ross.
“We know it will be a difficult test and this is a vote of confidence for the players we’ve picked,” coach Declan Kidney said.
“We know they’ll do a job and they’ve been training really well over the last two and a half weeks. We feel they deserve their go.”
Ireland, who face Argentina in the climax to their Guinness Series on Saturday week, have won all three previous meetings with Fiji.
Ireland XV to face Fiji: D Hurley (Munster); F McFadden (Leinster), D Cave (Ulster) L Marshall (Ulster), C Gilroy (Ulster); P Jackson (Ulster), C Murray (Munster); D Kilcoyne (Munster), S Cronin (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), D Tuohy (Ulster), I Henderson (Ulster), J Muldoon (Connacht), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).
Replacements: R Strauss (Leinster), C Healy (Leinster), M Bent (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), P Marshall (Ulster), J Sexton (Leinster) S Zebo (Munster).