/ Six Nations 2014

O'Brien returns for showdown with England

Updated: Tuesday, 13 Mar 2012 15:31

Sean O'Brien will start at openside flanker for Ireland on Saturday
Sean O'Brien will start at openside flanker for Ireland on Saturday

Declan Kidney has made just one change to the Ireland starting team for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations St Patrick’s Day clash with England at Twickenham, with Sean O'Brien returning to the backrow.

O’Brien, who missed the 32-14 victory over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium with a skin infection on his foot, returns to the side in place of Peter O’Mahony at openside flanker.

Other than that expected change to the backrow, the side remains the same as Ireland attempt to secure a fourth win in five games against England.

There had been injury concerns over O'Brien, Rory Best and Donnacha Ryan heading into the last-day showdown with England.

O'Brien returned to training yesterday and Kidney is confident the reigning European player of the year will be ready for the climax to the tournament at Twickenham.

A course of antibiotics was needed to treat the infection and O'Brien lost two kilos while ill.

Munster openside O'Mahony, who impressed on his full debut in Saturday's 32-14 rout of Scotland, drops to the bench to make room for the 25-year-old.

Leinster's Shane Jennings drops out of the squad to make room for O'Brien's inclusion.

"Sean trained well this morning and we wouldn't have selected him if he wasn't ready," Kidney said.

"It's tough on Peter because he played really well against Scotland."

Captain Best (ribs) and lock Ryan (shoulder) have been included despite carrying injuries that will limit their involvement in training this week.

Best will become Ireland's most capped hooker when he makes his 59th Test appearance, eclipsing Keith Wood's milestone of 58.

Ireland have won seven of their last eight Six Nations matches against England, including three of the last four meetings at Twickenham.

The contest is likely to decide who finishes runners-up with Ireland ending the competition strongly by thrashing Italy, drawing with France and blitzing Scotland.

A big performance from England would further strengthen Stuart Lancaster's claim to being named permanent head coach.

England name their team on Thursday.

Ireland team to face England in the RBS 6 Nations, Twickenham, Saturday 17 March, kick-off 5pm:

15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 1 Cian Healy, 2 Rory Best (captain), 3 Mike Ross, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 6 Stephen Ferris, 7 Sean O’Brien, 8 Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Mike McCarthy, 19 Peter O’Mahony, 20 Tomás O’Leary, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Fergus McFadden.

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