Six Nations: Paul O'Connell returns to lead Ireland against Wales while Gordon D'Arcy returns to partner Brian O'Driscoll in the centre
Joe Schmidt makes just two changes as O'Connell recovers from the chest infection that ruled him out of the win over Scotland, while Luke Marshall is dropped in place of fit again D'Arcy
Thursday 06 February 2014
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell has beaten his chest infection in time to face Wales in RBS 6 Nations action in Dublin on Saturday.
The talismanic lock slots in for Dan Tuohy in Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad, with stalwart centre Gordon D'Arcy returning after a stomach bug.
UIster lock Tuohy replaces club-mate Iain Henderson on the bench, in the only other change from the 23 head coach Schmidt fielded in last week's 28-6 Scotland victory.
There is no place for 22-year-old centre Luke Marshall in the match squad, who concedes the 12 shirt to 34-year-old D'Arcy.
Ulster wing Andrew Trimble's try-scoring turn against Scotland has been enough for him to hold off Fergus McFadden, who again takes a seat on the bench.
Leinster duo D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll extend their world-record joint caps haul as a centre partnership, for the visit of Warren Gatland's Wales.
Head coach Schmidt has had little need to change his squad, after last week's comfortable three-try victory over Scotland.
The hype surrounding the meeting of O'Driscoll and Gatland, who dropped the 25-year-old centre for the final British and Irish Lions Test, continues.
But Schmidt will be keen to draw a line under that, with Ireland expecting a severe test against the two-time reigning Six Nations champions this weekend.
Ireland team to face Wales in Dublin on Saturday:
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), D Tuohy (Ulster), T O'Donnell (Munster), I Boss (Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), F McFadden (Leinster).
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