Ireland unchanged for England
February 20, 2014
Much of the focus will be on record-equalling Brian O'Driscoll on Saturday © Getty Images
Ireland have named an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday's Test against England with two changes made to the bench.
Ireland go into Saturday's Test looking to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign and have kept the faith with the same side that eased past Wales in round two. Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has made two changes to the bench with Iain Henderson in for the injured Dan Touhy and the uncapped Jordi Murphy providing back-row cover.
Paul O'Connell will skipper the team while Brian O'Driscoll will become the joint most-capped player in world rugby when he equals George Gregan's tally of 139 caps. O'Driscoll missed training earlier in the week but Schmidt is confident he will be fine for Saturday.
Ireland will look to their experienced trio against England © Scrum.com
"Brian trained fully on Thursday, and in fact he could have trained on Tuesday, but he just was still feeling the after effects of an illness," Schmidt said. "And with his experience and know-how he's in a good position to know what he needs, and he brought that to bear.
"He's fully ready to go now though. There have been some challenges that would stand out in my mind but none as tough as this."
And O'Connell wants his side to make it three from three. "The lads realise what a step up this is and there's a realistic view of where we need to be to win this match," he said. "The confidence isn't sky-high, it's realistic.
"The last three times we've played England we've lost to them. The way we've been playing in recent times, particularly our last three games, we've been good. But in physicality, fitness and mental stakes the step up is huge. England have spoken a lot about making Twickenham a fortress, but we know that's exactly what it is."
Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Dave Kearney, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Paul O'Connell (captain), Peter O'Mahony, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Isaac Boss, Paddy Jackson, Fergus McFadden
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Judd Trump has been handed a walkover victory into the last 64 of the UK Championship after Chinese first-round opponent Rouzi Maimaiti had visa issues while attempting to travel to England
Ryan Mania, the 2013 Grand National-winning jockey, has announced his retirement at the age of 25 because he no longer "gets a kick out of winning"
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has named an unchanged 23 for Saturday's Test against Australia at Twickenham
Emile Heskey has told Leicester City he is ready to return to the club and help them in their fight against relegation
The Football Association of Ireland chief executive apologised on Tuesday for any offence caused by singing an Irish nationalist song in a pub