Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Ruddock to captain Irish

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt will be forced to sweat on fly-half Johnny Sexton's fitness again as the Racing Metro man will be his only squad star playing club rugby this weekend.

Leinster flanker Rhys Ruddock will captain Ireland Wolfhounds against England Saxons at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Dublin-born Ruddock, the son of former Wales and current Ireland Under-20s coach Mike Ruddock, has one senior Ireland cap, as an injury call-up to the 2010 summer Australia tour.

The 23-year-old will lead a squad including fit-again Ulster wing Craig Gilroy, and Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss, back in action just three months after undergoing heart surgery.

Munster wing Simon Zebo takes a seat on the bench as he steps up his return from long-term foot trouble.

And Connacht's Kieran Marmion is named among the replacements after European Rugby Cup took no further action following his citing in the Heineken Cup defeat at Saracens at the weekend.

A Heineken Cup disciplinary committee ruled Marmion's act of foul play did not warrant a red card, leaving him free to face the England second string side in Gloucester.

Fast-developing Leinster tighthead Martin Moore starts in the front row, with former Gloucester lock Dan Tuohy making a return to his old stomping ground.

Cardiff Blues' Munster-bound number eight Robin Copeland has a chance to impress, while Isaac Boss and Ian Madigan form an experienced half-back duo.

Ireland Wolfhounds: F Jones (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster), R Henshaw (Connacht), D Cave, C Gilroy (both Ulster), I Madigan, I Boss (both Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), R Herring (Ulster), M Moore (Leinster), I Henderson, D Tuohy (both Ulster), R Ruddock (Leinster, capt), T O'Donnell (Munster), R Copeland (Cardiff Blues).

Replacements: R Strauss, J McGrath (both Leinster), S Archer (Munster), R Diack (Ulster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), K Marmion (Leinster), I Keatley, S Zebo (both Munster).

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