Rugby Union: Staples returns to lead Ireland again

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.

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