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Monday 21 January 2019

All change for Irish as Kidney blasts Aussies

IRISH coach Declan Kidney (above with Leo Cullen) has branded Tim Horan's allegation that Ireland feigned injuries against Australia as "incredulous and slightly scandalous".

Wallaby great Horan accused the Irish of subterfuge in Saturday's 15-6 victory at Eden Park.

"Ireland had a deliberate plan to fake injuries each time there was a breakdown in play so they could slow the game down and frustrate the Wallabies," said Horan.

"How can I be sure? By talking to Irish assistant coach Alan Gaffney in the dressing rooms afterwards."

Kidney is furious that Gaffney was implicated and dismissed the claim made by Horan, who won 80 caps for Australia.

"What I can tell you for definite is that the reporter in question (Horan) was never in the dressing room," said Kidney.

"The coach in question (Gaffney) never spoke to him, so I'll let you make your own inferences into how he feels he can quote something that was never said.

"It's incredulous and slightly scandalous that he'd try to bring one of his fellow countrymen into something that is totally untrue."



Stunned

Leinster's Leo Cullen will captain Ireland on his World Cup debut against Russia in Rotorua on Sunday after Kidney decided to rest several of his top players.

Brian O'Driscoll and fellow centre Gordon D'Arcy, blindside flanker Stephen Ferris and experienced lock Paul O'Connell have all been given Sunday off as Kidney made 10 changes to the team that stunned the Wallabies.

"I think in tournament rugby it's difficult to play in games non-stop," Kidney told reporters in Rotorua.

"These guys who are playing here have been training very well, and I think they're the best men to represent us in this match."

Jonathan Sexton drops to the bench to allow Ronan O'Gara to start at fly-half, while Keith Earls moves in from the wing to partner Paddy Wallace, who will also be making his World Cup debut, in the centre.

"I always say to the lads, the easiest job here is playing one to 15. The difficult job is not being in the starting 15," Kidney added.

"What Paddy has contributed would be an example for every young player coming through of how to give to the squad without always wanting yourself.

"He's been as disappointed as any man I've ever left off, but he always takes some time for himself then comes back and feeds it back into the team."



overhauled

Scrum-half Isaac Boss gets his first start, with Eoin Reddan joining the replacements and Fergus McFadden coming in on the right wing.

Cullen replaces O'Connell in the second row, while Donnacha Ryan will play at blindside flanker, joining the back row duo of No 8 Jamie Heaslip and openside Sean O'Brien.

The front row was also overhauled with loosehead prop Cian Healy, the only survivor of last Saturday's match at Eden Park, joined by hooker Sean Cronin and tighthead Tony Buckley.

Kidney said the changes did not mean they were taking victory, nor a bonus point for scoring four tries or more, for granted against the World Cup debutants.

Russia's youngest squad player, Denis Simplikevich, will make his debut for the Bears on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Simplikevich, a fullback from Siberia, will start on the right wing after missing out on the 22 in the first two Pool C matches, losses to the US and Italy.

Russia will feature an all-new front row with hooker Valery Tsnobiladze and tighthead prop Alexander Khrokin making their first starts in the tournament, while loosehead prop Sergey Popov is back after playing the US.

IRELAND: R Kearney; F McFadden, K Earls, P Wallace, A Trimble; R O'Gara, I Boss, C Healy, S Cronin, T Buckley, D O'Callaghan, L Cullen (capt), D Ryan, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Russia: V Artemyev; D Simplikevich, A Kuzin, S Trishin, V Ostroushko; K Rachkov, A Yanyushkin (capt), V Gresev, A Garbuzov, A Fatakhov, A Byrnes, D Antonov, A Khrokin, V Tsnobiladze, S Popov.

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