Rugby Union: Quinnell provides some joy for Henry

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The Independent Online
SOME YOU win, some you lose, some you struggle to work out. Graham Henry endured another complicated day on the Welsh selection front yesterday, rejoicing in Craig Quinnell's return to full fitness while lamenting the withdrawal of the equally physical Jonathan Humphreys from his side to play Ireland at Wembley on Saturday. As for the tight head prop position... well, Henry is still waiting on that one.

News of Quinnell's recovery from knee trouble came as a relief to the national coach. The Richmond lock's bulk and aggression was missing against Scotland at Murrayfield 11 days ago. However, Humphreys' back condition, which now requires surgery, balanced the feel-good factor with a splash of reality.

Barry Williams, another Richmond forward and one of Martin Johnson's 1997 Lions', replaces Humphreys at hooker. His loose head will be Swansea's Darren Morris, but the identity of his right-hand prop is still open to question.

David Young may yet recover from calf trouble in time, but Henry took the precaution of bracketing his name with Chris Anthony's.

The Irish selectors were also in tinkering mode yesterday. Jon Bell, who lasted less than a quarter of the opening Five Nations match with France, returns to the emerald midfield for Rob Henderson.

There are changes in the back row, too, where Eric Miller switches from blind-side flank to replace Victor Costello at No 8, while Dion O'Cuinneagain is joined on the flank by the Ulsterman Andy Ward.

WALES (v Ireland, Five Nations' Championship, Wembley, Saturday): S Howarth (Sale); M Robinson (Swansea), M Taylor (Swansea), S Gibbs (Swansea), D James (Pontypridd); N Jenkins (Pontypridd), R Howley (Cardiff); D Morris (Swansea), B Williams (Richmond), D Young (Cardiff) or C Anthony (Swansea), C Quinnell (Richmond), C Wyatt (Llanelli), C Charvis (Swansea), M Williams (Pontypridd), S Quinnell (Llanelli). Replacements: K Morgan (Pontypridd), L Davies (Cardiff), D Llewellyn (Ebbw Vale), G Lewis (Pontypridd), M Voyle (Llanelli), G Jenkins (Swansea), I Gough (Pontypridd), A Lewis (Cardiff), Young or Anthony.

IRELAND: C O'Shea (London Irish); J Bishop (London Irish), K Maggs (Bath), J Bell (Dungannon), G Dempsey (Terenure College); D Humphreys (Dungannon), C McGuinness (St Mary's College); P Clohessy (Young Munster), K Wood (Harlequins), P Wallace (Saracens), P Johns (Saracens, capt), J Davidson (Castres), D O'Cuinneagain (Sale), A Ward (Ballynahinch), E Miller (Terenure College). Replacements: R Henderson (Wasps), E Elwood (Galwegians), C Scally (UCD), V Costello (St Mary's College), M Galwey (Shannon), J Fitzpatrick (Dungannon), R Nesdale (Newcastle).

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