O'Sullivan selects familiar faces for Irish trophy hunt

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The Independent Online

A repeat of their victory at Twickenham two years ago would hand Ireland their second Triple Crown in three years and, if coupled with defeat for France in Cardiff two hours earlier, would enable Brian O'Driscoll's side to secure their first Championship since 1985.

Predictably, the only Irish change from the side that beat Scotland 15-9 at Lansdowne Road last Saturday is on the bench where the Wasps flanker Jonny O'Connor, having recovered from a groin injury, replaces Munster's Mick O'Driscoll.

O'Sullivan wasted little time on his team selection after his side dominated the Scots to earn their third win from four matches. "I was pretty happy with the performance last weekend," he said. "It was probably our best 80 minutes of the Championship so there is no reason to change. Jonny took a full part in training and was fine so he comes back on to the bench."

If Ireland are to win the Championship, they need a favour from Wales and O'Sullivan believes a win over the unpredictable French is not out of the question. "I'm not dwelling on it because it's not something we can control," O'Sullivan said. "It's a waste of energy. We have to focus on what we can control and that's winning the game against England. If we do that, we win a Triple Crown and I'll take that out of this Championship.

"What happens after that depends on what happens in Cardiff. On form you'd expect France to win but Cardiff is a very hard place to play. The Welsh seem to grow a couple of inches or run a couple of seconds faster when they play in front of their own crowd.

"They will be disappointed with the result against Italy. They have a lot to prove. They've had a tough season both on and off the field and, if they could [win] it would give them something to build on. We're hopeful they might do that.

"France haven't played the champagne rugby that we associate with them but they are capable of it. It depends on which French team goes to Cardiff."