Youngsters get a chance in France

Eddie O'Sullivan revealed blooding future Test prospects guided his selection for Ireland A's clash with their French counterparts in Limoges on Friday.

Lock Mick O'Driscoll will captain a side which includes his Munster team-mate Barry Murphy, who was called up to the senior RBS Six Nations squad on the back of his recent performances in the Heineken Cup.

Wasps' Jeremy Staunton has been given the chance to show O'Sullivan there is depth at fly-half and is one of four English-based players in the squad, alongside Gavin Duffy, Shane Jennings and Leo Cullen.

O'Sullivan believes he has picked a formidable outfit, which will be coached by Michael Bradley, with the emphasis in developing international players of the future.

The Ireland head coach said: "There was a time when we picked an A team off the back of the national side, the best 44 players.

"Our opinion is there is not a lot to be gained by taking eight or 10 seasoned internationals into an A game against France.

"They'll not become better players because of it and we're not going to learn any more about them.

"There's more to be gained from putting younger players in and giving them the opportunity to gain experience.

"It's a good A team. There are no real rookies in there, they're all involved in, or are close to, the Heineken Cup with their provinces.

"It's good for them to get that exposure with the tour to New Zealand and Australia and the Churchill Cup coming up."

Ireland 'A' team:

G Duffy (Harlequins); I Dowling (Munster), B Murphy (Munster), K Lewis (Leinster), C McPhillips (Connacht); J Staunton (Wasps), Tomas O'Leary (Munster); R Hogan (Connacht), J Fogarty (Connacht), B Young (Ulster), M O'Driscoll (Munster, captain), M McCullough (Ulster), N Best (Ulster), S Jennings (Leicester), J Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: B Blaney (Leinster), R McCormack (Leinster), L Cullen (Leicester), R Wilson (Ulster), C Keane (Connacht), P Wallace (Ulster), J Hearty Connacht).

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