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O’Driscoll returns for Ireland

Brian ODriscoll New Zealand v Ireland 2012Recovered: Brian O’Driscoll

Brian O’Driscoll returns to the Ireland starting line-up for Saturday’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff.

In the backline, Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll will partner each other in the centre for a world record 48th time at international level.

Rob Kearney returns to international rugby and starts at full back to win his 42nd cap with Simon Zebo and Craig Gilroy named on the wings.

Second rows Mike McCarthy and Donnacha Ryan will start a championship game together for the first time, with McCarthy making his first start in the tournament having featured as a replacement last season.

Sean O’Brien returns to the starting team after missing the November internationals in a back row that includes Peter O’Mahony and Jamie Heaslip, who will captain Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations Championship for the first time.


Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Peter O’Mahony, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ronan O’Gara, 23 Keith Earls.

Date: Saturday, 2 February
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Kick-off: 13:30 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) and Pascal Gauzere (France)

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