Six Nations 2014: Brian O'Driscoll set to equal record number of caps at Twickenham when Ireland take on England
He will equal the 139 caps of George Gregan
Thursday 20 February 2014
Brian O'Driscoll has beaten his stomach bug in time to equal George Gregan's world-record 139 caps in Ireland's RBS 6 Nations match against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Stalwart centre O'Driscoll will match former Wallabies scrum-half Gregan's mammoth total this weekend as Ireland field an unchanged line-up from their impressive 26-3 Wales thumping two weeks ago.
O'Driscoll is now in line to surpass Gregan's record before retiring at the end of this Six Nations championship.
The 35-year-old will notch 131 Ireland caps in west London on Saturday, with his eight Lions honours bumping him up to equal status with Gregan.
Head coach Joe Schmidt has made two changes to the replacements bench, one enforced with lock Iain Henderson replacing Dan Tuohy who broke his arm against Wales.
The other change sees Jordi Murphy replace Munster's Tommy O'Donnell, with the Leinster flanker primed for his international debut if he joins the fray.
Ireland boss Schmidt admitted chasing the Triple Crown at Twickenham will be the biggest challenge of his coaching career.
Schmidt said O'Driscoll could have trained on Tuesday, but that the Ireland coaches took every precaution to ensure he would be fit to face England.
"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," said Schmidt.
"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."
Captain Paul O'Connell said Ireland expect their Six Nations campaign to ratchet through the notches against England, after impressive victories over Scotland and Wales.
"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."
IRELAND TEAM V ENGLAND
R Kearney (Leinster); A Trimble (Ulster), B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, D Kearney (all Leinster); J Sexton (Racing Metro), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross, D Toner (both Leinster), P O'Connell (capt), P O'Mahony (both Munster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, M Moore (all Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), J Murphy, I Boss (both Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), F McFadden (Leinster).
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'