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Ireland captain O’Connell returns for Wales match

February 6, 2014

DUBLIN (AP) — Captain Paul O’Connell has returned for Ireland’s Six Nations match against Wales at Lansdowne Road on Saturday after fighting off a chest infection.

O’Connell was a last-minute withdrawal from Sunday’s opener, but the team had enough to handle Scotland 28-6.

“I’ve just got a little bit of a cough left, that’s all. It’s a bit embarrassing really,” O’Connell said. “I’ve worked hard to get into a position where I could play in the Six Nations, so to miss out on the first game was frustrating and disappointing.

“But I think you have to have respect for your teammates as well, particularly the second-row. I really didn’t think it would affect the team in a big way, and I thought I might write myself off for this week if I did play.”

O’Connell comes back in for Dan Tuohy, with the Ulster lock replacing clubmate Iain Henderson on the bench.

Center Gordon D’Arcy also returns after a stomach bug, and replaces Luke Marshall in the only other change to Joe Schmidt’s 23.

Leinster duo D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll will extend their world-record midfield partnership to 53 tests.

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Ireland: Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, David Kearney, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Chris Henry, Peter O’Mahony, Paul O’Connell (captain), Devin Toner, Mike Ross, Rory Best, Cian Healy. Reserves: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Dan Tuohy, Tommy O’Donnell, Isaac Boss, Paddy Jackson, Fergus McFadden.

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