23 Nov 2013

Ireland's Sexton to risk hamstring

6:55 am on 23 November 2013

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt has named Johnny Sexton in his starting line-up for Monday's test against New Zealand despite the first five eighths having struggled with a hamstring injury all week.

The New Zealand-born Irish coach Joe Schimdt's also been boosted by the return of fullback Rob Kearney, who's overcome a rib injury to start at fullback.

Bryan O'Driscoll will wear his familiar number 13 jersey for what will surely be the last time against the black jersey.

It's been another cold but fine day in the Irish capital with more clear weather forecast for the weekend.

the talismanic centre having got over a calf injury.

Kearney's brother Dave is also named on the wing for his first start for the national side, replacing Fergus McFadden, who fractured a bone in his hand in the Wallabies defeat.

Another change in the back division sees Ulster centre Luke Marshall drop out of not only the starting XV but also the squad completely, replaced by the vastly-experienced Gordon D'Arcy, who wins his 75th cap.

British and Irish Lions halfback Conor Murray regains his starting place at the expense of Eoin Reddan, who like Marshall doesn't figure in the 23, as New Zealand-born Isaac Boss comes into the replacements.

Ireland: Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony; Paul O'Connell (capt), Devin Toner; Mike Ross, Rory Best, Cian Healy

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Declan Fitzpatrick, Mike McCarthy, Kevin McLaughlin, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Luke Fitzgerald