Eoin Reddan is confident his exposure to big matches with the European champions Wasps will prepare him for Friday's crucial World Cup match with France. Reddan will win his fourth cap when Ireland run out at the Stade de France after replacing the out-of-form Munster veteran scrum-half Peter Stringer in the starting line-up.
The 26-year-old has won Powergen and Heineken Cup medals during his two years at Wasps and insists that he will not be fazed by what is at stake against the hosts.
"I have had a lot of big games this year and it's great that they keep getting bigger," he said. "It's a natural progression for any rugby player to want to play in a Test match as big as this.
"What I have learnt since I have been at Wasps is that I enjoy playing big games and, hopefully, they will keep coming."
Rory Best will be unavailable for Ireland's remaining Pool D games, against France and Argentina, after dislocating his right thumb against Georgia on Saturday. The hooker cracked a small bone in his hand, which will need up to three weeks to heal. Jerry Flannery will replace him on Friday. Andrew Trimble replaces the winger Denis Hickie, who has a knee injury.
Alessandro Troncon will earn his 100th Test cap when he lines up for Italy against Portugal in the World Cup Pool C match at the Parc des Princes tomorrow.
The 34-year-old scrum-half returns to the Azzurri starting XV after dropping to the bench for their 24-18 win over Romania in Marseilles last week. Only seven of the team who scraped to victory over the Romanians are retained by Italy's coach, Pierre Berbizier.
Behind the scrum, the full-back David Bortolussi and centre Gonzalo Canale remain, while the experienced quintet of Andrea Lo Cicero, Martin Castrogiovanni, Marco Bortolami, Mauro Bergamasco and Sergio Parisse are the survivors in the pack. Parisse will move to openside flanker to accommodate the inclusion of the No 8 Manoa Vosawai, while Carlo Del Fava comes in at lock and Leonardo Ghiraldini at hooker.