Rugby Union: Staples returns to lead Ireland again

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The Independent Online
Jim Staples yesterday regained the Ireland captaincy after being recalled to the side for Saturday's Five Nations' Championship game against Wales in Cardiff.

The Harlequins full-back, who broke his jaw in the 22-12 defeat by Australia last November, returns for Conor O'Shea in the only change to the side which lost 32-15 to France in the opening match. Staples takes over from Keith Wood, who will miss the rest of the championship after dislocating a shoulder against France.

Northampton's Allen Clarke, who substituted for Wood against France, has been named at hooker despite reports that he broke a finger playing for his club on Saturday.

Scott Quinnell gave Wales cause to worry yesterday after limping off during Richmond's Courage League Two 34-33 home win over Bedford. Theback- row forward came off at half-time with a toe injury, but believes he will be fit to face Ireland. He said: "I was carrying an inflamed toe injury. I intend to have two days' rest and I am confident that I will be playing for Wales next weekend."

IRELAND (v Wales, Cardiff, Saturday): J Staples (Harlequins, capt); J Topping (Ballymena), J Bell (Northampton), M Field (Malone), D Crotty (Garryowen); E Elwood (Lansdowne), N Hogan (Terenure College); N Popplewell (Newcastle), A Clarke (Northampton), P Wallace (Saracens), P Johns (Saracens), J Davidson (London Irish), D Corkery (Bristol), D McBride (Malone), E Miller (Leicester). Replacements: K McQuilkin (Lansdowne), D Humphreys (London Irish), S McIvor (Garryowen), G Fulcher (London Irish), P Flavin (Blackrock College), R Nesdale (Newcastle).

Cliff Brittle, chairman of the RFU executive committee, last night called a meeting of all 24 Leagues One and Two clubs in London tomorrow to discuss EPRUC's latest proposals for an end to the 15-month-long dispute about who controls the game.