Ronan O'Gara staved off the challenge of Jonathan Sexton to claim the fly-half spot for Ireland's one-off Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Sexton started the final three games of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations campaign but has only recently battled back from a broken jaw and missed last Friday's match with the Barbarians because of an infection in his mouth close to where he had the surgery.
Although passed fit earlier in the week, the Leinster man has lost out to the more experienced O'Gara for the match in New Plymouth and has had to settle for a spot on the bench.
Connacht's Sean Cronin and John Muldoon face their sternest challenges yet in Irish colours after being named in the starting line-up.
The pair have both played twice previously for Ireland - Cronin against Fiji and Wales and Muldoon against the United States and Canada - but have found themselves thrust into the spotlight for Ireland's Australasian tour opener because of a heavy injury toll that has robbed coach Declan Kidney of many of his first-choice players.
In the absence of Rory Best and Jerry Flannery, Cronin finds himself packing down alongside Cian Healy and John Hayes, while Muldoon, who was man of the match in last week's loss to the Barbarians, slots in on the blindside flank alongside seasoned campaigner David Wallace and the impressive Jamie Heaslip.
Other first-choice selections like Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Tommy Bowe and Donncha O'Callaghan, who were rested or had only limited time on the pitch against the Barbarians last Friday, all return for the match at Yarrow Stadium.
Mick O'Driscoll joins O'Callaghan in the second row in the absence of his Munster colleague Paul O'Connell.
The uncapped pair of hooker John Fogarty, who came in for the injured Best, and lock or flanker Dan Tuohy, who played against the Barbarians, have been named in the reserves.
Ireland team: Rob Kearney (Leinster); Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster); Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Tomas O'Leary (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Sean Cronin (Connacht), John Hayes (Munster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Mick O'Driscoll (Munster), John Muldoon (Connacht), David Wallace (Munster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: John Fogarty* (Leinster), Tony Buckley (Munster), Dan Tuohy* (Ulster), Shane Jennings (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Geordan Murphy (Leicester).
*uncapped playerReuse content