Six Nations

O'Brien boost for Ireland

2012-03-13 17:24
Sean O'Brien (File)

Dublin - Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien has been given the all-clear for Ireland's Six Nations finale against England on St. Patrick's Day.

The European Player of the Year was the only change to Declan Kidney's starting XV after recovering from a skin infection on his foot, and the Ireland coach is confident the 25-year-old will be fit to line up at Twickenham on Saturday.

Munster openside flanker Peter O'Mahony, who impressed on his full debut in Saturday's 32-14 defeat of Scotland, moves to the replacements bench.

"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."

It is the only change to the side that condemned the Scots to a wooden spoon decider against Italy.

Captain Rory Best (ribs) and lock Donnacha Ryan (shoulder) have been included despite injuries that could limit their participation in training this week.

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

Keith Earls and Cian Healy will both win their 30th caps on Saturday while Donncha O'Callaghan joins Paul O'Connell on 85.

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 thrashing Scotland.

England name their team on Thursday.





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

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Mike McCarthy, 19 Peter O'Mahony, 20 Tomas O'Leary, 21 Ronan O'Gara , 22 Fergus McFadden

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