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O’Connell and D’Arcy return to Ireland team ahead of Wales clash

Head coach Joe Schmidt has made just two changes to his starting XV after last weekend’s victory over Scotland.

Gordon D'Arcy is back in the centre for Ireland.
Gordon D'Arcy is back in the centre for Ireland.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

IRELAND HEAD COACH Joe Schmidt has made two changes to the team that beat Scotland as he prepares for Saturday’s clash with Wales in the Six Nations.

Paul O’Connell has recovered from the chest infection that saw him withdraw at a late stage from the victory over the Scots last weekend, while Gordon D’Arcy comes into the team at inside centre in place of Luke Marshall.

The Ulsterman is back with his province instead, having been named as a replacement for their clash with the Ospreys tomorrow night at Ravenhill, while Dan Tuohy drops to the Ireland bench to accommodate the returning O’Connell. In turn, Iain Henderson slips out of the match day squad.

D’Arcy will win his 77th Irish cap on Saturday, once again linking up with Brian O’Driscoll. The Leinster centre had been ruled out of selection contention for the Scotland clash due to a stomach bug during the build-up. His defensive strength will be needed against Wales’ powerful midfield.

Otherwise, Schmidt has opted for continuity following last weekend’s 28-6 success as he backs his side to maintain winning momentum.

Ireland: R Kearney; A Trimble, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, D Kearney; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross, D Toner, P O’Connell (capt.); P O’Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, M Moore, D Tuohy, T O’Donnell, I Boss, P Jackson, F McFadden.

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Murray Kinsella

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