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O’Driscoll returns to face France as Kidney makes ten changes

Brian O’Driscoll starts alongside Gordon D’Arcy against France, with Felix Jones handed an opportunity at full-back.

Updated 13.55

FELIX JONES HAS been named at full-back in the Ireland team to play France on Saturday, with captain Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy also named.

Coach Declan Kidney felt that the game came too early to include Tommy Bowe from the start, but revealed that the Ospreys star is back in full training and will be ready to compete sooner rather than later.

There are ten changes overall from the side that lost 19-12 to the French in Bordeaux last weekend, with Keith Earls moving from the centre to left wing.

Jonathan Sexton will be partnered at half back by Tomás O’Leary, Sean O’Brien moves to No. 6 and Paul O’Connell and Jamie Heaslip start the match after coming on as replacements last Saturday.

With just over three weeks remaining until Ireland kick-off their World Cup campaign against the USA, Kidney said that he is pleased with how his squad rotation has worked so far, despite having lost both warm-up matches.

“We said at the very outset that it was important to try and get at least 30 players match-fit before we get on the plane to New Zealand,” he said this afternoon. “This is all part of the plan for that.

The fact that it’s ten changes isn’t something that I counted up.

“Obviously we’ve lost the two games, but every time you put on a green jersey you want to win a match. Ideally, we’d do that.

“But I am happy. The way the players are going about their business and the way things are coming together, I am happy with that.

Ireland (v France): Jones; Trimble, O’Driscoll, D’Arcy, Earls; Sexton, O’Leary; Healy, Best, Ross; O’Callaghan, O’Connell; O’Brien, Wallace, Heaslip. Replacements: Flannery, Court, McCarthy, Ferris, Reddan, O’Gara, Fitzgerald.

Ireland Select (v Connacht): G Murphy; J Murphy, Cave, Keatley, McFadden; Wallace, Boss; Buckley, Cronin, Hayes; M O’Driscoll, Cullen; McLoughlin, Jennings, Leamy. Replacements: Varley, Horan, Ryan, Ronan, Murray, Hurley, Whitten.

– Additional reporting by Niall Kelly

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