Ireland recall Leinster trio for Wales
January 29, 2013
Brian O'Driscoll starts for Ireland © Getty Images
Ireland boss Declan Kidney has named Leinster's Sean O'Brien, Brian O'Driscoll and Rob Kearney in the side to face Wales on Saturday.
The trio all missed the autumn internationals through injury but Kidney has shown no hesitation in throwing them back into the Test side despite seeing his team record an impressive win over Argentina in their last run out.
And in further changes to the XV that took to the field against the Pumas, Munster's Peter O'Mahony comes back into the side in place of Ulster's Chris Henry while Henry's team-mate Rory Best, who also missed the autumn Test series through injury, returns at hooker.
Craig Gilroy retains his place in the XV after he scored on his debut for the national side against Argentina and he is partnered by Munster's Simon Zebo on the flank. Kidney explained the decision saying: "It was a tight call because there's so much competition. Fergus McFadden and Keith Earls have been playing well, so it's testament to the way Craig and Simon have been playing that they're selected."
Elsewhere, Gordon D'Arcy gets the nod at inside centre while Munster's Conor Murray takes the scrum-half jersey and will line up alongside Leinster's Jonathan Sexton, who announced last week that he will be leaving Irish rugby at the end of the season.
In the front-row Leinster's Cian Healy, Ulster's Best and Mike Ross are all named while Mike McCarthy partners Donnacha Ryan in the second-row. Skipper Jamie Heaslip is joined by O'Mahony and O'Brien in the back-row.
Ireland: Rob Kearney (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Munster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Mike McCarthy (Connacht), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Replacements: Sean Cronin (Leinster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Donnacha O'Callaghan (Munster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Keith Earls (Munster)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside