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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 12:48 GMT
Ireland bring in trio for France
Jamie Heaslip (left) and Bernard Jackman
Jamie Heaslip and Bernard Jackman start for Ireland in Paris

Six Nations
Date: Saturday, 9 February
Kick-off: 1600 GMT
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
BBC Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Sport website (UK users only), Radio Ulster MW and 5 Live Sports Extra.

Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has made three changes in personnel and three positional switches for Saturday's RBS Six Nations trip to France.

Bernard Jackman replaces Rory Best at hooker, Jamie Heaslip comes in at number eight and Denis Leamy moves to flanker with Simon Easterby benched.

Due to Gordon D'Arcy's injury, Andrew Trimble moves to inside centre with Robert Kearney named on the left wing.

Leicester's Geordan Murphy switches from the left to the right wing.

O'Sullivan, however, has still ignored the form of Ulster winger Tommy Bowe who produced a five-star performance with the Ireland A team against the England Saxons at Leicester last week.

Bowe has not even made the replacements with O'Sullivan gambling on the form of Shane Horgan who has recovered from injury.

Horgan, who looked a little ring-rusty at Welford Road last Friday, can be an option to play wing or centre.


Bowe still gives way to Kearney who came on as a replacement when D'Arcy left the field at Croke Park with a broken wrist.

This will be the 21-year-old Dubliner's second cap after starting in the 16-0 defeat to Argentina last summer.

Kearney has a booming left foot which will come into focus in defensive positions in the way that the now retired Denis Hickie used to operate.

Meanwhile, the France game is Carlow-born Jackman's first start for Ireland. The 31-year-old made his debut during Ireland's tour to Japan back in 2005 and will be winning his sixth cap.

Israeli-born Heaslip was surprisingly omitted for the opening game against Italy, but with Easterby looking jaded, the Leinsterman comes in for his fifth cap due to the tinkering of the back-row.

Heaslip, 24, made his debut in the 2006 autumn international against the Pacific Islands and his explosive running and handling could bring a new dimension to Ireland's game.


Leamy has spent most of his international life in the middle of the back-row, but has played in every position although it was as a flanker with Munster where he made his name.

With a shortage of midfield players, Trimble was always going to partner Brian O'Driscoll at centre, although he may lack the nous as an inside playmaker.

The skills and ability of Murphy allow O'Sullivan to switch the Leicester to the right wing, although many still feel that full-back is still his best attacking position.

Murphy sat out training on Tuesday after sustaining a corneal abrasion in the game against Italy on Satuday.

He has a patch over the eye, but he is expected to be fit to travel to Paris.

Meanwhile France number eight Elvis Vermeulen has been ruled out of the game because of a rib injury.

"Elvis was injured during the game against Scotland. X-rays revealed a broken rib and he will be sidelined for four to six weeks," team spokesman Lionel Rossigneux said on Tuesday.

Vermeulen will be replaced by uncapped Louis Picamoles, who received the call from the selectors while celebrating his 21st birthday.

Ireland: Dempsey; Murphy, B O'Driscoll (capt), Trimble, Kearney; O'Gara, Reddan; Horan, Jackman, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Kelly, Leamy, D Wallace, Heaslip.
Replacements: Best, Buckley, M O'Driscoll, Easterby, Stringer, P Wallace, Horgan.

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27 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
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