Frustrated O'Connell raring to go

 

Paul O'Connell, the Ireland captain, is champing at the bit to get back into the action against Italy in Dublin today, and says his side's enforced three-week lay-off nearly drove him crazy.

Ireland's match against France at Stade de France a fortnight ago was postponed just before kick-off because of a frozen pitch, meaning their last game was the home defeat to Wales on 5 February.

"When you lose a game you like to get straight back out there and get it out of your system," the experienced lock said. "It's been frustrating to carry that around. Some guys with knocks have benefited from it, but a few others would have liked more game time under their belts. We've come into camp fresh this week and that's been the positive that's come of it."

Four matches in as many weeks, including trips to France and England, the defending champions, is not the most ideal way to finish the Six Nations for Declan Kidney's team.

"There's no doubt successive Test matches will be very physically demanding, but we're used to it," Stephen Ferris, the Ireland flanker, said. "We did it at the World Cup and we play week in week out for the provinces. Speaking with all the players after the France game was postponed, it was never an issue for anyone."

Without a victory over Ireland since 1997 and missing world-class tight-head prop Martin Castrogiovanni because of broken ribs for the rest of the competition, history appears to be against Italy climbing off the bottom of the standings this weekend.

Ireland: Kearney; Bowe, Earls, D'Arcy, Trimble; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross, O'Callaghan, O'Connell (capt), Ferris, O'Brien, Heaslip. Replacements: Cronin, Court, Ryan, O'Mahony, Reddan, O'Gara, McFadden.

Italy: Masi; Venditti, Benvenuti, Sgarbi, McLean; Botes, Gori; Rizzo, Ghiraldini, Cittadini, Geldenhuys, Bortolami, Zanni, Barbieri, Parisse (capt). Replacements: D'Apice, Staibano, Pavanello, Favaro, Semenzato, Burton, Canale.

Referee: C Joubert (SA). Kick-off: 1.30pm today. TV: BBC1

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence