Dempsey looks for Irish recovery act

Girvan Dempsey is determined to produce an eye-catching performance against Tonga here today and ease the disappointment of last week's heavy defeat to Australia.

"We all set ourselves certain targets and we fell well below them," the experienced fullback said about the 45-16 reverse in Perth. "We weren't competitive enough at the breakdown, we just made far too many unforced errors, and from broken play we never got our kick-chase game going."

Tonga are far from a leading rugby nation but in conditions that will suit, in front of passionate home support, they promise to be a physical, athletic match for the Irish.

But if their performances against the New Zealand Maori and New Zealand Divisional XV are anything to go by, they lack the necessary class to overcome an Ireland side that is much-changed, but boasts experience in key positions.

Shane Byrne starts at hooker, Ronan O'Gara at fly-half, Dempsey at full-back with Reggie Corrigan captaining his country for the first time.

"We all need to go out and really impose ourselves on them. Potentially, it could be difficult, as they are a very physical team," added Dempsey.

Ireland: G Dempsey (Leinster); J Kelly, M Mullins (both Munster), J Bell, T Howe (both Munster); R O'Gara (Munster), G Easterby (Llanelli); J Fitzpatrick (Ulster), S Byrne, R Corrigan (capt), L Cullen (all Leinster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli), K Dawson, E Miller (both London Irish). Replacements: P Shields, S Best (both Ulster), D O'Callaghan, D Wallace (both Munster), B O'Meara, P Burke, G Darcy (all Leinster).

Tonga: (probable) G Leger; T Tulia, P Hola, J Payne, S Mafileo; T Alatini, D Palu; T Lea'aetoa, V Ma'asi, H Lavaka, I Afeaki (capt), M Ngauamo, N Naufahu, S Afeaki, B Kivalu. Replacements: To be confirmed.

Referee: S Walsh (New Zealand).

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