Six Nations 2013: Brian O'Driscoll set for swansong against Italy

Ireland announce team for Saturday's match in Rome

Brian O'Driscoll will play potentially his final RBS 6 Nations match after being included in Ireland's starting XV for their clash with Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.

O'Driscoll, along with centre partner Luke Marshall, was concussed during last weekend's 13-13 draw with France, but both players have been passed fit for the trip to Rome on Saturday.

They are joined in the backline by Jonathan Sexton, who is restored at fly-half having missed the last two matches against Scotland and France with a hamstring problem.

However, there is a slight doubt over Sexton's fitness and the Lions contender is being examined for a minor injury, according to head coach Declan Kidney.

"Jonny turned over on his foot a little bit this morning, but we expect that he'll be fine. He's being checked out now. Ian Madigan will travel with us as cover," Kidney said.

"Jonny's very keen to get going now and is very happy to be involved."

Paddy Jackson, who deputised in Sexton's absence, drops to the bench with Madigan losing his place among the replacements - unless Sexton fails to recover.

Craig Gilroy returns on the right wing after overcoming a groin strain, replacing rib-fracture victim Fergus McFadden.

The pack is unchanged from the eight that started against France with lock Donnacha Ryan being given a clean bill of health after taking a bang on his shoulder at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Substitute scrum-half Eoin Reddan fractured his leg against France, so uncapped Ulsterman Paul Marshall wins a spot on the bench that includes Devin Toner.

Kidney explained that Toner's line-out prowess earned him the nod over Donncha O'Callaghan as second row cover.

Ireland have never lost to Italy in the Six Nations with their last defeat to the Azzurri coming in 1997.

Victory in Rome, combined with France dispatching Scotland in Paris, would secure a third-place finish - a reasonable return given the number of injuries they have endured in the championship.

But defeat, also combined with a French win, would thrust them into contention for the wooden spoon.

Ireland team to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome, on Saturday March 16:

R Kearney (Leinster); C Gilroy (Ulster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster), L Marshall (Ulster), K Earls (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), M McCarthy (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), P O'Mahony (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).

Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), S Archer (Munster), D Toner (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), P Marshall (Ulster), P Jackson (Ulster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster).

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own