Brian O'Driscoll back in Ireland side for Six Nations opener against Wales

Last Updated: 30/01/13 6:45am

  • Share:
Sean O'Brien and Brian O'Driscoll will return to the Ireland side for the Millennium Stadium clash with Wales

Sean O'Brien and Brian O'Driscoll will return to the Ireland side for the Millennium Stadium clash with Wales

Sky Bet

Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney, Sean O'Brien and Rory Best are restored to the Ireland starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations trip to Wales.

The key quartet missed the autumn internationals through injury but return as Ireland attempt to end a run of three successive defeats against the defending champions.

For the first time since succeeding Keith Wood as captain in 2004, O'Driscoll is relieved of the leadership duties following coach Declan Kidney's decision to appoint Jamie Heaslip skipper.

The 34-year-old resumes his centre partnership alongside Leinster team-mate Gordon D'Arcy for a record 48th time with France-bound Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray selected at half-back.

Youngsters Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo have been rewarded for their impressive showings during the autumn.

They form an exciting back three with Kearney, which means Keith Earls must settle for a place among the replacements.

"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," said Kidney.

Best returns at hooker in place of the injured Richardt Strauss, while Peter O'Mahony's selection ahead of Chris Henry gives Ireland added options at the line-out.

Mike McCarthy and Donnacha Ryan are named in the second row, with Ulster tight-head Declan Fitzpatrick named on the bench ahead of Michael Bent, who struggled last weekend against the England Saxons.

Ireland: Kearney, Gilroy, O'Driscoll, D'Arcy, Zebo, Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross, McCarthy, Ryan, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Heaslip.
Replacements: Cronin, Kilcoyne, Fitzpatrick, O'Callaghan, Henry, Reddan, O'Gara, Earls.

  • Share:

Related

RBS Six Nations 2013

Mathew Tait: The full-back is hopeful of adding to his England caps

Tait aims for England take-off

Mathew Tait believes his best form is still ahead of him after recovering from a career threatening groin injury.

O'Driscoll: has a good recent record against England and Alex expects it to continue

Brian mighty

Alex Payne says Ireland stalwart Brian O'Driscoll can guide his side to victory over in-form England.

Mike Phillips: Wants Wales to be fearless when they face France next Saturday

Phillips: Play without fear

Mike Phillips has called on Wales to play with 'no fear' when they tackle favourites France next weekend.

Most Popular

Features

Hughton eyes return

Hughton eyes return

Chris Hughton talks to Goals on Sunday about a return to football and vacancies at Crystal Palace and Brighton.

Top 5 of 2014 | Chris Kamara moments

Top 5 of 2014 | Chris Kamara moments

Watch our pick of Kammy's most unbelievable moments of 2014 including penalty confusion at Newcastle and a new pet name for Jeff Stelling!

Top 5 for 2014: Netball

Top 5 for 2014: Netball

We count down our five favourite moments from the world of netball in 2014, do you agree?