Rugby: Irish captain out of Test

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An ankle injury has forced the captain and scrum-half, Niall Hogan, out of the Ireland team for Saturday's Test against Australia at Lansdowne Road.

Hogan, who sustained the injury in last week's match against Western Samoa, is replaced by Garryowen's Steve McIvor, a new cap, while the hooker, Keith Wood of Harlequins, becomes captain. Wood, playing his first full international since he injured a shoulder in the World Cup against Japan in Bloemfontein last year, led Ireland A to their win over South Africa A in Donnybrook last week.

Australia have made four changes and two positional switches to the team that plays Ireland on Saturday from the side which defeated Scotland at Murrayfield.

Jason Little, recovered from injury, comes in at right wing with Tim Horan moving to centre while Pat Howard is omitted and George Gregan takes over at scrum-half from Sam Payne.

In the pack Dan Crowley replaces the injured Richard Harry at loose-head, and Daniel Manu moves from No 8 to blind-side flanker replacing Owen Finegan. Michael Brial comes in at No 8.

Ben Clarke's chances of playing in Saturday's Test against Italy at Twickenham improved when he was able to train with the England party yesterday. The Richmond player had been such a doubt with a dead leg that the selectors had called up the Bristol captain, Martin Corry, as a back-row reinforcement on Tuesday.

Moseley have withdrawn four players from the Midlands squad for Sunday's game against Queensland at Stourbridge. Moseley agreed to release the props Nathan Webber and Stuart McKinnon, plus the centre Dan Harris and hooker Dean Ball. But they changed their mind after a request from the English Professional Rugby Union Clubs, who are in dispute with the Rugby Football Union.

AUSTRALIAN TEAM (v Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Saturday): M Burke; J Little, D Herbert, T Horan, J Roff; D Knox, G Gregan; D Crowley, M Foley, A Blades, W Waugh, J Eales capt., D Manu, D Wilson, M Brial. Replacements: P Howard, S Payne, A N Other, A Heath, M Caputo, A N Other.