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Monday 5 December 2016

Ian Madigan gets Schmidt nod for Barbarians clash

Ian Madigan
Ian Madigan

Ian Madigan has pipped Paddy Jackson to the Ireland No10 jersey for tomorrow night's clash with the Barbarians at Thomond Park.

The Leinster fly-half has spent most of this season at inside centre, but will line out in his preferred position for the end of season fixture.

In an interesting twist, the 25-year-old will line up opposite the man Matt O'Connor's preferred to him during his two years with the province, Jimmy Gopperth.

Joe Schmidt has named a strong side for the game, with Jamie Heaslip captain and Six Nations heroes Rob Kearney, Jack McGrath and Devin Toner involved.

Without his Munster and Connacht contingent, the New Zealander has included some new faces while a number of returning stalwarts are given a chance to re-integrate into the squad.

Leinster centre Colm O'Shea and tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong are the only uncapped players in the starting XV, while Ben Marshall, Luke McGrath and Cian Kelleher are all poised for their first international involvement off the bench.

There are no caps awarded for this fixture.

Chris Henry returns to the team after the heart scare he suffered on the day of the South Africa game, while wingers Dave Kearney and Craig Gilroy are given a chance to impress on the wings.

O'Shea partners Luke Marshall in the centre. The Ulster man has not played much rugby in recent times, but is preferred to Stuart McCloskey who misses out altogether.

The Baa-Baas have made a late change to their bench, with former Leinster lock Nathan Hines adding some ballast ahead of his retirement.

Ireland team to face Barbarians: R Kearney (Leinster); D Kearney (Leinster), C O'Shea (Leinster), L Marshall (Ulster), C Gilroy (Ulster); I Madigan (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); J McGrath (Leinster), R Strauss (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster); D Toner (Leinster), D Tuohy (Ulster); R Diack (Ulster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (capt, Leinster). Reps: R Herring (Ulster), M Bent (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster), B Marshall (Leinster), J Murphy (Leinster), L McGrath (Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), C Kelleher (Leinster).

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