/ Six Nations 2015

Paul O'Connell and Gordon D'Arcy in for Ireland against Wales

Updated: Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 22:09 | Comments

Paul O'Connell (l) returns to captain the side and Gordon D'Arcy replaces Luke Marshall Paul O'Connell talks to the squad at Ireland training this week Paul O'Connell in action against Wales
Paul O'Connell (l) returns to captain the side and Gordon D'Arcy replaces Luke Marshall Paul O'Connell talks to the squad at Ireland training this week Paul O'Connell in action against Wales

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Paul O’Connell and Gordon D’Arcy have been restored the starting line-up ahead of Ireland’s crunch RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales on Saturday (2.30pm). 

O’Connell missed Sunday’s comprehensive victory over Scotland due to a chest infection and was replaced by Dan Tuohy in the starting line-up.

As expected, he has been judged fit to start and will slot in to the second row alongside Devin Toner. O’Connell is also restored to the captaincy in place of Jamie Heaslip.

Tuohy is named on the bench, with Iain Henderson dropping out of the match-day squad.

In the centre, D’Arcy’s world record Test partnership with Brian O’Driscoll is restored with Luke Marshall dropping out of the squad.

The squad is otherwise unchanged, with the rest of the starting XV and bench retained from the Scotland match.

Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Dave  Kearney make up the back three with Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray continuing their partnership at half-back. Isaac Boss, Paddy Jackson and Fergus McFadden will provide cover for the backline.

In the pack, Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross continue in the front row with Peter O’Mahony, Chris Henry and Heaslip named at blindside, openside and number eight.

"I've copped plenty of slagging from the old-school players I've played with for years"

"I've just got a little bit of a cough left, that's all," O'Connell said.

"It's a bit embarrassing really. I've copped plenty of slagging from the old-school players I've played with for years.

"I've just finished a course of antibiotics; I've played matches on them before, so I don't struggle with it at all.

"You almost wish you'd had something worse than a chest infection.

"I'm experienced enough to know how to handle things like this, I've dealt with similar things before.

"I broke ribs against England, and had to withdraw late the next week from a game against Italy.

"It was very frustrating and very disappointing then, and the same last weekend.

"I've worked hard to get into a position where I could play in the Six Nations, so to miss out on the first game was frustrating and disappointing.

"But I think you have to have respect for your team-mates as well, particularly the second-row, Dan Tuohy has been playing great this season, and Iain Henderson had been in camp all week.

"And I really didn't think it would affect the team in a big way, and I thought I might write myself off for this week if I did play."

O'Connell admitted it was an easy decision in the end to put the team first last weekend and step back to allow Ulster lock Tuohy to start.

Anticipating a fearsome tussle against Wales, he said: "I was asking myself that during the week, whether if it were a Grand Slam decider would I try to play.

"But I think you still have to have respect for your team, the body wasn't right, and there were two guys there who were right and ready to go.

"From that point of view while it was frustrating and disappointing, it wasn't a difficult decision either."

Ireland: Kearney; Trimble; O’Driscoll; D’Arcy;  D Kearney; Sexton; Murray; Healy; Best; Ross; Toner; O’Connell (c); O’Mahony; Henry; Heaslip.

Replacements: McGrath; Cronin; Moore; Tuohy; O’Donnell; Boss; Jackson; McFadden.

Live television coverage of Ireland v Wales and Scotland v England from 13:30 on Saturday 8 February, and France v Italy from 14:30 on Sunday 9 February on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Ireland only). Live radio coverage on Saturday Sport (14:00) and Sunday Sport (14:00) on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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