Ireland name unchanged side
Rugby:Declan Kidney has stuck with the same 23 players that beat Wales in Cardiff last weekend. The Irish coach had a full compliment from which to choose after a week of injuries to several frontliners including Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls and Peter O’Mahony. All of the players trained this morning ahead of Sunday’s match against England with Kidney sticking with the attitude of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.Earls recovered enough to earn a place on the bench with D’Arcy again forming the longest standing centre partnerships in test rugby with Brian O'Driscoll.
“All three lads trained with us so that is not a problem,” Kidney said of his walking wounded, “and barring any reaction, which we don’t expect, we don’t have any fitness tests planned for tomorrow.”
Kidney also confirmed that Sean O’Brien, who had missed some training earlier in the week, had also come through today’s training session unscathed.
England coach Stuart Lancaster has left Manu Tuilagi on the bench as he opted for Brad Barritt and Billy Twelvetrees in midfield but Kidney expects the centre to make an appearance at some stage.
“They have players coming back in, that will obviously make them hungry,” Kidney added. “When these players come off the bench, just like our own guys, they’ll be looking to make a big impression.”
Irish captain Jamie Heaslip spoke of England’s win last year as a motivation to do face up to them in Aviva Stadium. The memory of losing 30-9 in Twickenham last March still haunts the Irish number 8.
“That day it was tough sitting in the changing room thinking we didn’t do the jersey proud,” said Heaslip. “That day we came up second best. There are tough days in any office and you learn from it.”
Despite Ireland’s display against Wales, especially in a ripping first half, Heaslip knows that England must be respected when they arrive in Dublin.
“We are quite aware of what they are capable doing,” said Heaslip, who faces a changed England backrow, where James Haskell has been selected at blindside. The Wasps flanker will make his first Six Nations start in nearly two years in the reshuffled back row with Tom Wood switching to number eight in place of the injured Ben Morgan. England's starting line-up will otherwise be unchanged from their 38-18 Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland.
Ireland(v England): R Kearney (Leinster); C Gilroy (Ulster), B O’Driscoll (Leinster), G D’Arcy (Leinster), S Zebo (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), M McCarthy (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), P O’Mahony (Munster), S O’Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt). Replacements:S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), D Fitzpatrick (Ulster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O’Gara (Munster), K Earls (Munster).