Ireland drop four

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The Independent Online
RUGBY UNION

Ireland have made four changes to the side that defeated Wales in Cardiff last month for their World Cup warm-up match against Italy in Treviso on 6 May.

The most significant change is at outside-half, where Paul Burke has been preferred to Eric Elwood. Burke played against England and Scotland before losing his place to Elwood for the matches against France and Wales. Burke then replaced the injured Elwood 20 minutes into the match at Cardiff and kicked 11 points in the 16-12 victory.

The centre Jonathan Bell, the scrum-half Michael Bradley, and the prop Garry Halpin come in for Philip Danaher, Niall Hogan and Peter Clohessy. Danaher and Clohessy are ruled out of the World Cup because of business commitments, while Hogan is sitting his final medical examinations. There are no newcomers, although the reserve scrum-half, David O'Mahony, and the reserve prop, Paul Wallace, have yet to be capped.

Ricky Evans, the Welsh prop who broke his leg playing against France, proved he is on course to regain his place against Japan next month. He successfully negotiated his first game in three months when he played for Dyfed Fire Service at Crymych.

In Australia, Bob Dwyer, the national coach, suggested that David Campese had "a loose wire from his brain to his mouth" as officials tried to play down his attack on his team-mate, Tim Horan. Campese caused a stir when he said Horan was not the same player he was before he suffered a serious knee injury, and that he should not go to the World Cup.

Dywer said any disciplinary action would be kept between Campese and the team administration. "Maybe he should choose his words a little bit more carefully," Dwyer said.

IRELAND (v Italy, Treviso, 6 May): J Staples (Harlequins); R Wallace (Garryowen), B Mullin (Blackrock College), J Bell (Ballymena), S Geoghegan (Bath); P Burke (Cork Constitution), M Bradley (Cork Constitution); N Popplewell (Wasps), T Kingston (Dolphin, capt), G Halpin (London Irish), G Fulcher (Cork Constitution), D Tweed (Ballymena), A Foley (Shannon), E Halvey (Shannon), P Johns (Dungannon). Replacements: M Field (Malone), E Elwood (Lansdowne), D O'Mahony (Cork Constitution), D Corkery (Cork Constitution), P Wallace (Blackrock College), K Wood (Garryowen).

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