World Cup: Huddersfield Giants prop Stuart Fielden declares for Ireland
Last Updated: July 6, 2013 9:28am
Stuart Fielden: Has switched allegiances from England to Ireland
Huddersfield Giants prop Stuart Fielden has switched his allegiance to Ireland for the World Cup.
Ireland coach Mark Aston revealed that Fielden, who won the last of his eight caps for England against Australia in 2010, has accepted his approach and could play against England in the second round of group matches on 2 November.
"Stuart has committed to the cause and will bring vast experience from playing at the highest level," said Aston.
"There will be certain instances in the World Cup when he will be massive for us and he will add the steel and presence that we want at that level.
"I'm highly delighted that he'll be with us."
Fielden is currently sidelined with a knee injury but is expected to return before the end of the Super League season.
Aston, the Sheffield Eagles coach who has succeeded Andy Kelly as Ireland boss, has also revealed that Warrington's highly-rated second rower Ben Currie has opted for Ireland ahead of England.
And he will be joined in the Irish ranks by a host of leading Super League stars, including Pat Richards (Wigan), brothers Scott and Simon Grix (Huddersfield and Warrington respectively), Damien Blanch (Catalan Dragons) and Shannon McDonnell (Hull).
"Ben Currie is a big one for us - he has a massive future in the game," Aston said.
"I watched him with great interest in the recent match against Wigan and one of the passes he put out showed exactly the kind of vision and decision making that I love.
"He's big and strong as well and we're delighted he's pledged his allegiance to Ireland."
Dave Allen (Widnes) and Warrington trio Chris Bridge, Ben Harrison and Gareth O'Brien are among other Super League players that will be included in Ireland's initial squad, which will be captained by Featherstone scrum-half Liam Finn.
Australia and Fiji are the other teams in group A, with three to qualify for the quarter-finals. Ireland lost out to Fiji for a place in the semi-finals of the 2008 World Cup.