Keith Earls will be inspired against Wales predicts Paul O'Connell

 

Paul O'Connell believes Keith Earls will be inspired by the birth of his first child when Ireland's RBS 6 Nations opens against Wales on Sunday.

Earls has been asked to replace Brian O'Driscoll, who will miss the entire tournament after undergoing shoulder surgery, at outside centre for the Dublin showdown.

The 24-year-old must step into some of biggest boots in world rugby only days after his partner Edel McGee gave birth to their baby girl, Ella-Maye.

Rather than be over-awed by the demands of filling the void left by O'Driscoll's absence, O'Connell hopes he will feed off the change to his home life.

"I've spoken to Keith and he's in good form," said O'Connell, who is leading the team while O'Driscoll continues his rehabilitation.

"I was lucky in that when we had our small fella I was injured at the time so I didn't have to go through what he's going through.

"It's a great time and he's in great form and is looking forward to joining up with the team.

"Having kids is great because it gives you a bit of perspective on life and rugby.

"We all take rugby very seriously and are a bit selfish at times, but it gives you perspective on how to treat games. Hopefully it will be a good thing for him.

"He's a lot more experience than in the past so hopefully I won't have to say a lot to him.

"He had a good World Cup and has been playing well for us. He was excellent against Northampton.

"Guys have to be trusted....we have to let him continue doing what he's picked for."

The only Test debutant named in the 22 to face Wales is Munster back row Peter O'Mahony, who features on the bench.

Coach Declan Kidney is sure to be criticised for what will be perceived by some as a conservative selection, but retains faith in his established internationals.

"I respect everybody's view. This team is everybody's team, people talk about who should and who shouldn't be playing," he said.

"We had a disappointing match on our last day out, but one bad game doesn't make you a bad team.

"Wales played very well that day and if we play the same way on the Sunday then it will be the same result."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis