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Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 12:23 UK

Ronan O'Gara gets nod for Ireland against New Zealand

International Test
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth Date: Sat, 12 June Kick-off: 0845 BST Coverage: Live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website


Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara
Munster's Ronan O'Gara is back in the Ireland starting line-up

Ronan O'Gara has been selected ahead of Jonathan Sexton at fly-half for Ireland's Test against New Zealand in New Plymouth on Saturday.

Sexton started the final three games of the Six Nations campaign but has only recently recovered from a broken jaw.

Connacht forwards Sean Cronin and John Muldoon are selected following injuries to regular first-choice players.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has handed debuts to Israel Dagg, Benson Stanley and Ben Franks.

Henry, facing an injury crisis and mindful of a looming World Cup on home soil, has named full-back Dagg, inside centre Stanley and loosehead prop Franks in his starting line-up.

Three other uncapped players are on the replacements bench - lock Sam Whitelock, fly-half Aaron Cruden and loose forward Victor Vito.

"It's an exciting team that will play the Irish, we have picked experienced All Blacks together with those players who have been in form throughout the Super 14 and deserve their opportunity at test level," said Henry.

"They know the Irish will be a huge challenge but they are looking forward to it."

Veteran winger Joe Rokocoko was dropped for the end of the season tour last year but has played himself back into the All Blacks side with a solid Super 14 for the Auckland Blues and he will earn his 61st cap on Saturday.

606: DEBATE

The uncapped pair of hooker John Fogarty and lock/flanker Dan Tuohy are named in the Irish replacements.

Although passed fit earlier in the week, Leinster's Sexton has lost out to the more experienced O'Gara and has to settle for a spot on the bench.

Cronin and Muldoon, both with two caps, face their sternest challenges yet in Irish colours after being drafted into the team.

They have been thrust into the spotlight for Ireland's Australasian tour opener because of a heavy injury toll.

In the absence of Rory Best and Jerry Flannery, Cronin finds himself packing down alongside Cian Healy and John Hayes while Muldoon, who was man of the match in last week's loss to the Barbarians, slots in on the blind-side flank alongside seasoned campaigner David Wallace and the impressive Jamie Heaslip.

Other first-choice selections like Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Tommy Bowe and Donncha O'Callaghan, who were rested or had only limited time on the pitch against the Barbarians last Friday, all return for the match at Yarrow Stadium.

Mick O'Driscoll joins O'Callaghan in the second row in the absence of his Munster colleague Paul O'Connell.


New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Benson Stanley, Joe Rokocoko; Daniel Carter, Jimmy Cowan; Ben Franks, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read.
Replacements: Aled de Malmanche, Neemia Tialata, Sam Whitelock, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Zac Guildford.

Ireland: Rob Kearney (Leinster); Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster); Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Tomas O'Leary (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Sean Cronin (Connacht), John Hayes (Munster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Mick O'Driscoll (Munster), John Muldoon (Connacht), David Wallace (Munster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: John Fogarty (Leinster), Tony Buckley (Munster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Shane Jennings (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Geordan Murphy (Leicester).



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see also
McFadden ruled out of Irish tour
05 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 23-29 Barbarians
04 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Baa-Baas include Irish veterans
02 Jun 10 |  Leinster
Henry and Tuohy in Ireland squad
18 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Ferris set to miss Ireland tour
04 May 10 |  Rugby Union


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