McCarthy replaces Ryan on Irish bench
Rugby:Ireland coach Declan Kidney has been forced into a late change to the Ireland bench ahead of Saturday’s game against Fiji at Thomond Park after versatile forward Donnacha Ryan was ruled out through illness.
The Munster player started in the secondrow in the defeat to South Africa last Saturday alongside Connacht’s Mike McCarthy, who now takes over his place on the bench.
Despite it being a non-cap match, Fergus McFadden insists Ireland’s second string are desperate to make their presence felt ahead of the key game against Argentina on Saturday week.
Only Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray and Mike Ross survive from the South Africa game. Instead, the likes of uncapped Ulster trio Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson have been given a chance to impress the management.
“Fijians are renowned for how aggressive and physical they are,” said Leinster winger McFadden. “They have massive men across the board, throughout the backs and in the forwards.
“They’ll be physically opposing, but we’ll be up for it because a lot of our lads didn’t get that much game time last week.
“We’ll be looking to come out of the blocks fast and impose our gameplan on them. We want to put some structure on the game. Fiji feed off scraps and thrive on loose ball.”
McFadden is the most experienced member of Ireland’s backline with 15 caps and he is excited by the prospect of linking up with the new arrivals.
“I’ve played with Darren Cave all the way through underage, I’ve known him for years,” he said.
“Luke has slotted in very well and Paddy Jackson has an old head on young shoulders. Those lads are very promising, hopefully they’ll go well.
“The mood’s been great, we’ve been flying, but getting pipped by South Africa was a disappointment.
“It was a good team performance. They strangled out the latter part of the game by not giving us any scores. But some fresh faces have been brought in and they’re really looking forward to it. Hopefully we can put things right.”
IRELAND (v Fiji):D Hurley (Munster); F McFadden (Leinster), D Cave (Ulster) L Marshall (Ulster), C Gilroy (Ulster); P Jackson (Ulster), C Murray (Munster); D Kilcoyne (Munster), S Cronin (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), D Tuohy (Ulster), I Henderson (Ulster), J Muldoon (Connacht), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).
Replacements:R Strauss (Leinster), C Healy (Leinster), M Bent (Leinster), M McCarthy (Connacht), C Henry (Ulster), P Marshall (Ulster), J Sexton (Leinster), S Zebo (Munster).