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Thursday, October 14, 1999 Published at 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK

Irish with back row trouble

Conor O'Shea: Stepping up to the captain's role

Eric Miller has joined David Corkery on the sidelines ahead of Ireland's Group E clash with Romania on Friday.

The Irish had already made several changes to the side that lost to Australia for their vital Group E clash with Romania on Friday, with Corkery out for the rest the tournament because of a back injury.

Ireland's full-back Conor O'Shea: "It's great for the nine guys to come in"
Ireland No 8 Miller will miss the final game because of a hamstring injury.

He will be replaced by Dion O'Cuinneagain, while flanker Andy Ward will replace David Corkery.

Full back Conor O'Shea will captain the side to face the Romanians in the game that will decide which team goes through to the quarter final play-offs.

Shannon back-row Alan Quinlan has been drafted into the squad to replace Corkery, although he is unlikely to play.

Fly-half David Humphreys and inspirational hooker Keith Wood are among the key players rested, while Trevor Brennan, cited for punching in Sunday's match, has been omitted from the side.

Three tough Tests

Ireland are favourites, despite a dismal performance against the Wallabies, although coach Warren Gatland is faced with a selection crisis.

[ image: Keith Woods: Rested, but on the bench]
Keith Woods: Rested, but on the bench
Assuming Ireland can overcome Romania, they face a play-off on the following Wednesday and, if they win, a quarter final on Sunday - three hard Tests in just eight days.

Gatland has sought to rest many vital players without weakening the team the extent that the Romanians could produce a shock victory.

"What we're concerned about is the one or two players who we feel wouldn't be able to play three games in a week and we need to make sure they're rested," Gatland said.

"David Humphreys is recovering well from a knock on the knee, Dion O'Cuinneagain's sore shoulder is coming on well, while Jeremy Davidson's back injury was able to have a run-out at this morning's training session."


15 Conor O'Shea (captain); 14 James Topping, 13 Jonathan Bell, 12 Mike Mullins, 11 Justin Bishop; 10 Eric Elwood, 9 Tom Tierney; 8 Eric Miller, 7 Kieron Dawson, 6 David Corkery, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Paddy Johns, 3 Peter Clohessy, 2 Ross Nesdale, 1 Justin Fitzpatrick.
Replacements: 16 Gordon Darcy, 17 Brian O'Driscoll, 18 Brian O'Meara, 19 Dion O'Cuinneagain, 20 A.N.Other, 21 Keith Wood, 22 Angus McKeen.

Romania: M Vioreanu, C Sauan, G Brezioanu, R Gontineac, G Solomie, L Vusec, P Mitu; C Draguceanu, E Septar, A Petrache, T Constantin, T Brinza, C Stan, P Balan, R Mavrodin.
Replacements: M Iacob, I Tofan, R Fugigi, F Corodeanu, D Chiriac, N Dima, L Rotaru.

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