Rugby World Cup 2011: Ireland's Rory Best to face Wales

Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter-final: Ireland v Wales

  • Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium
  • Date: Saturday, 8 October
  • Kick-off: 0600 BST/ 1800 NZ

Coverage: Live text commentary, scores and report on BBC website; updates on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1 & S4C (Welsh language), live commentary on BBC Radio Cymru (Welsh language) & TalkSport radio

Best will make his 54th Test appearance appearance for Ireland on Saturday

Ireland hooker Rory Best has been passed fit to take his place in an unchanged starting line-up for the World Cup quarter-final against Wales.

The 29-year-old has received intensive treatment after injuring his shoulder during the 36-6 Pool C win over Italy .

Sean Cronin, who was on standby to replace Best, is on the bench.

"We obviously had some precautions in place ready to cover Rory if he failed to pull through, but he's in tip-top shape," said defence coach Les Kiss.

Damien Varley, who had been named on the bench in the event of Best failing to prove his fitness, drops out of the match-day squad entirely.

Ireland are already without first-choice hooker Jerry Flannery who tore a calf muscle in training ahead of the match against Australia in mid-September.

Wales v Ireland: last five matches

  • 2011: Wales 19-13 Ireland
  • 2010: Ireland 27-12 Wales
  • 2009: Wales 15-17 Ireland
  • 2008: Ireland 12-16 Wales
  • 2007: Wales 9-19 Ireland

Ronan O'Gara and Conor Murray retain their places at nine and 10 after impressing during the comprehensive win over the Azzurri, with Jonathan Sexton and Eoin Reddan - who had started the tournament as the first-choice half-back pairing - on the bench.

Kidney said the battle for the outside-half and scrum-half spots was the "most competitive area" in the team.

"I know it's unconventional to use different half-backs at different times," said Kidney.

"When they've been on the pitch they've brought their own things to it.

"For example, Jonathan was hugely strong for us in defence in the last 10 minutes against Italy. Eoin robbed two great balls for us in the last 10-15 minutes.

"Leaving them out isn't easy, but Conor and Ronan have gone quite well for us."

Wales are showing different trends in the way they play but are more unpredictable than before

Ireland coach Declan Kidney

Ireland have beaten Wales in nine of their previous 12 meetings, although Wales won the most recent encounter between the two nations after a controversial victory at this year's Six Nations.

And Kidney said that Warren Gatland's men - who show four changes to the side that thrashed Fiji - had added unpredictability to their attacking play, making them more dangerous opponents.

"They're showing different trends in the way they play, but are more unpredictable than before," he said.

"If it was possible to read them before, it's more difficult now."

Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster); R O'Gara (Munster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster). Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), T Court (Ulster), D Ryan (Munster), D Leamy (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster).

Six Nations extended highlights - Wales 19-13 Ireland