Kingston rises to captain Irish

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The Independent Online
It may or may not turn out to be the luck of the Irish - Ireland's decisive pool match against Wales in Johannesburg on 4 June will determine that - but Terry Kingston last night completed a perpendicular rise from second-choice hooker to World Cup captain, writes Steve Bale.

Until the demise of Michael Bradley's captaincy Kingston was second-choice hooker to Keith Wood and, as Wood was supposedly the most exciting tight- forward prospect in these islands, looked destined to remain so. But then the Irish selectors made the change and Kingston was the main beneficiary.

Thus a man who led the Irish midweek team against Japan in the 1991 World Cup and in midweek matches on last year's tour of Australia has suddenly found himself in unlikely command, mainly because of the chronic back injury that has affected Wood's performance and, more particularly, his throwing-in.

Bradley remains in the squad but, after the trauma of the loss of his baby son in January, has become a poignant figure as Niall Hogan's scrum- half reserve. Noel Murphy, Bradley's father-in-law, is the team manager. Irish selection was less gloomy than it would have been if Ireland rather than Wales had been whitewashed but it was still made in hope rather than expectation.

The return match against the Welsh culminates a World Cup campaign which kicks off against New Zealand and continues against Japan and has not been helped by the non-availability of the prop Peter Clohessy and of the versatile Lions forward Mick Galwey.

Clohessy's place on the tight head is more likely to go to the experienced Gary Halpin than the uncapped Paul Wallace, whose brother Richard is also in the squad. Even though Galwey has been out of the Irish side for most of this season, he would have performed a valuable service in covering all the back-five forward positions.

IRELAND WORLD CUP SQUAD: Backs: J Bell (Ballymena), M Bradley (Cork Constitution), P Burke (Cork Constitution), E Elwood (Lansdowne), M Field (Malone), S Geoghegan (Bath), N Hogan (Kerenure), B Mullin (Blackrock), D O'Mahony (UCD), C O'Shea (Lansdowne), J Staples (Harlequins), R Wallace (Garryowen). Forwards: D Corkery (Cork Constitution), J Fitzgerald (Young Munster), A Foley (Shannon), N Francis (Old Belvedere), G Fulcher (Cork Constitution), G Halpin (London Irish) E Halvey (Shannon), P Johns (Dungannon), T Kingston (Dolphin, capt), D McBride (Malone), N Popplewell (Wasps), D Tweed (Ballymena), P Wallace (Blackrock), K Wood (Garryowen).