ULSTER HOOKER RORY BEST will skipper Ireland in the absence of Paul O’Connell this weekend.
O’Connell was ruled out of the rest of the championships — along with Connor Murray — earlier this week.
Today, Declan Kidney has named Best as the stand-in skipper as well as handing starting berths to Donnacha Ryan and Eoin Reddan.
Ryan lines out alongside Donncha O’Callghan in the second row while Leinster man Reddan comes in for Murray at scrum-half.
“Obviously it’s a great honour to be asked to captain the side on Saturday,” said Best. “You know, it’s something that you always dream of doing and it was very unfortunate that Paulie’s out, he’s going to be a huge loss but I was very honoured when Declan asked me.”
Kidney insisted Best’s elevation to skipper won’t disrupt preparations. “Rory and myself have worked together as coach and captain on a tour to Canada so it’s not exactly new to us,” he said.
“And the lads coming in, Donnacha Ryan has been doing a lot of work with us over the past couple of weeks – and so has Eoin Reddan. So they’re looking forward to the opportunity and we’ve just been working our way through it.”
Ireland drew with France on Sunday having held a commanding half-time lead. They were eventually reeled in to draw 17-17.
Yesterday, Andy Robsinon named Max Evans on the Scotland bench for the Dublin trip after he was cleared of assault by an Edinburgh court.
Evans denied hitting Alasdair McCaig, 29, with a glass during an altercation in an Edinburgh nightclub in August 2010. Following a five-day trial, it took a jury at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court less than an hour to find the 28-year-old not guilty.
Irish golfer Shane Lowry watches training with coach Neil Manchip (right). Pic: INPHO/Dan Sheridan
The player returned to training with his international team-mates on Monday afternoon, and is among the replacements for the Six Nations trip to Dublin.
Earlier Philippe Saint-Andre named his side for Les Bleus’ Sunday showdown against England in Paris.
Team to face Scotland: Kearney; Bowe, Earls, D’Arcy, Trimble; Sexton, Reddan; Healy, Best, Ross, D O’Callaghan, D Ryan, Ferris, O’Brien, Heaslip.
Replacements: Cronin, Court, McCarthy, O’Mahony, O’Leary, O’Gara, McFadden.
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