Sexton favoured over O'Gara for Ireland
Tuesday 24 November 2009
Jonathan Sexton will start Ireland's clash with South Africa at Croke Park on Saturday after being preferred ahead of Ronan O'Gara at fly-half.
In a surprise move by Ireland coach Declan Kidney, Sexton has seized the number 10 jersey from O'Gara as reward for his outstanding display in Saturday's 41-6 victory over Fiji.
The last time O'Gara, who is included on the bench, was dropped was in 2003 and the Lions veteran has had a stranglehold on the position ever since.
But the composure shown by Sexton in dismantling Fiji on his Test debut has convinced Kidney he is ready to face the world and Tri-Nations champions.
It is a bold selection that rewards the 24-year-old's sparkling form since being thrust onto centre stage during the latter rounds of Leinster's march to their first Heineken Cup crown last season.
Otherwise, Kidney has kept faith with the XV that drew 20-20 with Australia in Ireland's autumn opener with Keith Earls replacing knee injury victim Luke Fitzgerald on the left wing.
Ulster's Paddy Wallace is restored at inside centre where he is preferred ahead of Gordon D'Arcy, who features among the substitutes.
Cian Healy of Leinster resumes loosehead duties after missing out against Fiji because of a shoulder injury.
Munster prop Tony Buckley supplies front row cover from a bench which sees scrum-half Peter Stringer get the nod ahead of Eoin Reddan.
Back row Denis Leamy also feature among the replacements despite suffering an ankle injury against the Fijians.
Kidney revealed Sexton's display against Fiji whetted his appetite to see more of the Leinster fly-half in action.
"I know we have a world-class fly-half in Ronan O'Gara but I thought Jonathan Sexton had a good game last weekend," he said.
"I need to find out more about Jonathan. I worked with him last year and played him in the A team.
"Ronan is disappointed but Ronan being Ronan, he's still contributing to the team this week.
"It doesn't matter that it was a difficult call, my job is to pick the team."
Kidney revealed Leamy will undergo a fitness test later in the week to confirm his place on the bench.
Ireland team to play South Africa on Saturday, November 28, at Croke Park (1430):
R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (capt) (Leinster), P Wallace (Ulster), K Earls (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), T O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), J Flannery (Munster), J Hayes (Munster); D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Buckley (Munster), L Cullen (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), G D'Arcy (Leinster).
Joey Barton joins Burnley: Ex-QPR midfielder signs one-year deal, immediately regrets tweet criticising living the Lancashire town last year
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Manchester City face another struggle to make an impact in Champions League
Paul Pogba to Chelsea: Transfer news live - John Stones latest, Gareth Bale and Neymar to Manchester United, Edinson Cavani to Arsenal
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: Wolfsburg admit they can't compete with 'astonishing' £200,000-a-week offer as £58m deal nears
- 1 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 2 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 3 Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
- 4 iPhone 6s camera: features to include 4K video camera and flash for selfies
- 5 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn