Gilroy and Zebo to start for Ireland against Wales

Updated: Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 11:11

By Tadhg Peavoy

Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo will start on the wings in Ireland's opening Six Nations match against Wales on Saturday, in a side that shows four changes from the team that defeated Argentina 46-24 at Aviva Stadium in Ireland's last Test match.

In the back three, Simon Zebo switches to the left wing from fullback, with Tommy Bowe dropping out of the side due to injury. Rob Kearney comes into the side at fullback.

Brian O'Driscoll replaces Keith Earls at second centre, the latter drops to the bench as the utility back replacement.

In the pack, Rory Best replaces the injured Richardt Strauss at hooker, while in the back row Sean O'Brien comes into the side for Chris Henry, who is named among the replacements.

Ireland team to play Wales at Millennium Stadium, Saturday 2 February, kick-off 13:30:

15 Rob Kearney 14 Craig Gilroy 13 Brian O'Driscoll 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Simon Zebo 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Conor Murray 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Mike Ross 4 Mike McCarthy 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Peter O'Mahony 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip (captain).

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin 17 David Kilcoyne 18 Declan Fitzpatrick 19 Donncha O'Callaghan 20 Chris Henry 21 Eoin Reddan 22 Ronan O'Gara 23 Keith Earls.

 
Gilroy is named on the right wing, to take up the last spot in the back three vacated by Bowe, while Gordon D'Arcy is named at first centre alongside his provincial partner at Leinster, O'Driscoll.

Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray remain the half-back partnership.

The props either side of Best are Leinster duo Cian Healy and Mike Ross. Behind them in the engine room are second rows Mike McCarthy and Donnacha Ryan.

O'Brien is joined in the back row by Peter O'Mahony and captain Jamie Heaslip.

On the bench, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has named Sean Cronin as back-up hooker.

David Kilcoyne provides cover for loosehead prop, while Declan Fitzpatrick is the second choice tighthead prop.

Donncha O'Callaghan provides the third option at second row, while Chris Henry covers the back row.

Eoin Reddan and Ronan O'Gara are the replacement half-backs, with Earls the utility back cover.

Wales will name their team to face Ireland on Thursday.

Twitter: @TPeavoy