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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 12:37 GMT
O'Driscoll and Stringer ruled out
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll will miss the historic match at Croke Park
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and scrum-half Peter Stringer have been ruled out of Ireland's RBS Six Nations match against France at Croke Park.

Ulster's Isaac Boss will replace Stringer while Shane Horgan will switch from the right wing to O'Driscoll's position at centre.

Geordan Murphy, initially named as a replacement, takes the number 14 shirt.

Stringer was ruled out because of a fractured hand bone while O'Driscoll has a hamstring injury.

Paul O'Connell will take over as captain in O'Driscoll's absence.

For New Zealand-born Boss it will be a first start in the championship.

His promotion to the starting 15 has handed Wasps scrum-half Eoin Reddan a place among the substitutes.

BBC blogger Jim Stokes

The Irish pack is unchanged from the 19-9 win over Wales.

"Brian was close to being fit but felt a tightening of the hamstring," said Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan.

"Emotionally, it was a difficult decision to make but an easy one from a practical point of view.

"Isaac Boss will bring a different sniping game to Stringer but, after his performances in the autumn, I have no worries about him."

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Horgan made a surprise return to the team earlier in the week after a quicker-than-expected recovery from a knee injury.

It was thought winger Horgan would miss Ireland's first two Six Nations games after picking up the injury playing for Leinster in the Heineken Cup.

Horgan's return meant Ulster's Andrew Trimble was left out of the side.

O'Sullivan said he was confident Horgan had proved his fitness.

"He has trained well all week and has taken hits on the knee that was injured," said the Ireland coach.

Ireland: Dempsey; Murphy, Horgan, D'Arcy, Hickie; O'Gara, Boss; Horan, R Best, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, S Easterby, D Wallace, Leamy.
Replacements: Flannery, S Best, N Best, M O'Driscoll, Reddan, P Wallace, Trimble.

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