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Ireland names unchanged team for England match

February 20, 2014

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland coach Joe Schmidt named an unchanged team for Saturday’s Six Nations match against England at Twickenham after center Brian O’Driscoll recovered in time from a stomach bug to set a new world record.

Paul O’Connell will lead the side as Ireland, still unbeaten in the tournament this year, seeks its first win in Twickenham since 2010.

The 35-year-old O’Driscoll will equal former Wallabies scrumhalf George Gregan as the most capped player of all-time with his 139th international outing. O’Driscoll will reach 131 Ireland caps, with his eight Lions caps allowing him to equal Gregan’s tally.

“Brian trained fully on Thursday, and in fact he could have trained on Tuesday, but he just was still feeling the after effects of an illness,” said Schmidt. “And with his experience and know-how he’s in a good position to know what he needs, and he brought that to bear. He’s fully ready to go now though.”

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will continue as the half-back pairing with O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy lining out in midfield.

Schmidt made two changes to the bench, with Iain Henderson in for the injured Dan Touhy and the uncapped Jordi Murphy replacing Tommy O’Donnell.

Ireland started its campaign with two consecutive home victories against Scotland and Wales and is chasing the Triple Crown at Twickenham.

“There have been some challenges that would stand out in my mind but none as tough as this,” Schmidt said of the match against England.

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Ireland: Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Dave Kearney, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip. Reserves: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Isaac Boss, Paddy Jackson, Fergus McFadden.

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