Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland make 12 changes for Romania

Robbie Henshaw of Ireland
Ireland's Robbie Henshaw made his Test debut against the USA on 8 June 2013
World Cup Pool D: Ireland v Romania
Venue: Wembley, London Date: 27 September Kick-off: 16:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.
Further coverage: BBC Radio Ulster.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has made 12 changes to his starting line-up for the Pool D game against Romania on Sunday.

Robbie Henshaw is not included despite the centre's return to fitness after a hamstring strain that ruled him out of the 50-7 win over Canada on Saturday.

But prop Cian Healy makes his first start this season after a neck injury.

Simon Zebo, Tommy Bowe and Darren Cave come into the backline, with fly-half Ian Madigan getting the nod over Paddy Jackson to partner Eoin Reddan.

Schmidt's selection for the game means the Irish will field the oldest starting XV in World Cup history.

Ireland's remaining World Cup Pool D games
Sunday, 27 Sept, 16:45 BST: Ireland v Romania, Wembley Stadium
Sunday, 4 Oct, 16:45 BST: Ireland v Italy, Olympic Stadium
Sunday, 11 Oct, 16:45 BST: Ireland v France, Millennium Stadium

Leinster loose-head Healy has been recovering from surgery since May but came on as a replacement for 19 minutes of the victory over Canada.

Nathan White comes in for Mike Ross at tight-head, while hooker Richardt Strauss is preferred to Sean Cronin, who takes a place on the bench.

Devin Toner and Donnacha Ryan replace Paul O'Connell and Iain Henderson in the second row, with O'Connell named among the replacements.

Jamie Heaslip captains the side and is joined in the back row by Jordi Murphy and Chris Henry.

Cave's inclusion means he will form a centre partnership with his Ulster team-mate Jared Payne, while Bowe will welcome the chance to impress after missing out on selection for the victory over the Canadians.

Romania will be without flanker Valentin Ursache. The 30-year-old, originally selected at blind-side flanker, has subsequently been banned for a week following a dangerous tackle on Morgan Parra in his team's loss to France. He is replaced by Viorel Lucaci.

Lock Ovidiu Tonita will equal the national record of 14 Rugby World Cup appearances as part of a starting line-up which has won a total of 710 caps - the most ever by a Romania team at the tournament.

No risks with Henshaw

Schmidt's stated intention was to use all 31 players in his squad in the first two games but that aim has been frustrated by the injury suffered by Henshaw in training prior to the tournament.

The Connacht centre took part in training this week at the squad's base at St George's Park, but Schmidt has taken a cautious approach to make sure the man form Athlone is fully fit for what are expected to be tougher Pool D contests ahead against Italy and France.

"It was just at the start of the week we felt we had to take it a little bit easier than we first thought with Robbie," said Schmidt after announcing the Ireland team.

"He is fully running now and we just felt that we'd rather not push ahead. Soft tissue injuries can be quite complicated.

"If you get a re-injury on the same site, then you are in a situation where his World Cup could be in doubt."

Ireland: Simon Zebo (Munster); Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster); Ian Madigan (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Nathan White (Connacht); Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Devin Toner (Leinster); Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster) (capt).

Replacements: Sean Cronin (Leinster),Jack McGrath (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Rob Kearney (Leinster).

Romania: Catalin Fercu; Adrian Apostol, Paula Kinikinilau, Csaba Gal, Ionut Botezatu; Michael Wiringi, Valentin Calafeteanu; Andrei Ursache, Andrei Radoi, Paulica Ion, Valentin Poparlan, Ovidiu Tonita, Viorel Lucaci, Mihai Macovei (captain) Daniel Carpo.

Replacements: Otar Turashvili, Mihaita Lazar, Alexandru Tarus, Johannes van Heerden, Stelian Burcea, Florin Surugiu, Florin Ionita, Florin Vlaicu

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