O'Driscoll back for Ireland

Irish to field virtually first-choice line-up

Last Updated: 17/08/11 1:48pm

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O'Driscoll: back for Ireland

O'Driscoll: back for Ireland

Sky Bet

Brian O'Driscoll will captain Ireland in Saturday's match against France at the Aviva Stadium.

The 32-year-old will be making his first appearance of the summer after recovering from the neck/shoulder injury that forced him to sit out Ireland's defeats to Scotland and France in their previous World Cup warm-up matches.

He will line up at outside centre in what is virtually Ireland's strongest XV.

"It's great to be back. It's always difficult sitting out any Test matches. I'm looking forward to the weekend," O'Driscoll said.

Gordon D'Arcy joins O'Driscoll in the midfield after completing his recovery from ankle surgery.

With Rob Kearney ruled out for one week because of a groin strain, Felix Jones makes his first start at full-back.

Andrew Trimble, who has impressed over the last two weekends, retains his place on the right wing with Keith Earls taking the number 11 jersey.

What appears to be coach Declan Kidney's first choice half-pack pairing of Jonathan Sexton and Tomas O'Leary have been recalled after sitting out the 19-12 defeat by France last Saturday.

In the pack, openside David Wallace also makes his first appearance of the summer.

Paul O'Connell and Jamie Heaslip will start after coming off the bench in Bordeaux, while the front row of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross is given another run out.

Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris makes a welcome return to the bench after winning his lengthy battle with a knee problem.

"Hopefully Stephen will get a run out. He's been going well in training, but we won't push anyone too soon," said Kidney.

Ireland: F Jones (Munster); A Trimble (Ulster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), T O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: J Flannery (Munster), T Court (Ulster), M McCarthy (Connacht), S Ferris (Ulster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster).

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