Danaher ready for selection

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The Independent Online
Philip Danaher, the Garryowen centre who joined Ireland's World Cup squad in Bloemfontein yesterday as a replacement for the injured full- back Jim Staples, is ready to be rushed straight into action. He is likely to fill the vacancy left among the replacements for tomorrow's Group C match against Japan at the Free State Stadium.

Danaher is match-fit, having played club rugby until three weeks ago, and since then, he has been playing Gaelic football for his local team. Danaher, who trained on his own yesterday afternoon, will be a strong contender for a place in Ireland's final pool match, against Wales in Johannesburg on Saturday.

"I'm delighted to have been called out, but naturally I feel sorry for Jim," he said yesterday. "At 29, I'm too old to have any hope of making the 1999 World Cup and I had thought that time had passed me by." Danaher's business did not allow him the time for involvement in Ireland's World Cup preparations.

Ireland have made eight changes from the side which started against New Zealand. Maurice Field, who came on twice as a replacement, plays at centre instead of the injured Jonathan Bell. Conor O'Shea replaces Staples, while Paul Burke and Niall Hogan replace Eric Elwood and Michael Bradley at half-back.

In the pack Keith Wood, Paul Wallace, Davy Tweed and Eddie Halvey are brought in for Terry Kingston, Gary Halpin, Gabriel Fulcher and Denis McBride. In Kingston's absence the captaincy has gone to Nick Popplewell for the first time.

IRELAND (v Japan, Bloemfontein, tomorrow): C O'Shea (Lansdowne); R Wallace (Garryowen), B Mullin (Blackrock College), M Field (Malone), S Geoghegan (Bath); P Burke (Cork Constitution), N Hogan (Terenure College); N Popplewell (Wasps, captain), K Wood (Garryowen), P Wallace (Blackrock College), D Tweed (Ballymena), N Francis (Old Belvedere), D Corkery (Cork Constitution), E Halvery (Shannon), P Johns (Dungannon). Replacements: E Elwood (Lansdowne), M Bradley (Cork Constitution), A Foley (Shannon), T Kingston (Dolphin).

JAPAN: T Matsuda (Toshiba Fuchu); L Oto Daito (Bunka University), A Yoshida (Kobe Steel), Y Motoki (Kobe Steel), Y Yoshida (Isetan); S Hirao (Kobe Steel), M Horikoshi (Kobe Steel); O Ota (NEC), M Kunda (Toshiba Fuchu, capt), M Takura (Mitsubishi Motor Co), Y Sakuraba (Nippon Steel Kamaishi), B Ferguson (Hino Motor), H Kajihara (Katsunama), Sione Latu Daito (Bunka University), Sinali Latu (Sanyo Electric). Replacements: W Murata (Toshiba Fuchu), K Hirose (Kyoto Sangyo University), K Imaizumi (Suntory), E Hirotsu (Kobe Steel), K Takahashi (Toyota), K Izawa (Daito Bunka University).

Referee: S Neethling (South Africa).

Geoghegan the free spirit, page 30