Ireland unchanged for Triple Crown bid
Published 16/03/2010 | 14:11
Ireland have named an unchanged side for a second successive week as they close in on their fifth Triple Crown in seven seasons.
Head coach Declan Kidney has opted against adjusting his 22 for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland in what will be the team's Croke Park farewell.
Gordon D'Arcy is retained at inside centre pending a fitness test on the heavy bruising above his left knee sustained during the weekend's victory over Wales.
If D'Arcy fails to recover in time, Paddy Wallace will be promoted from outside the squad to the vacant number 12 jersey.
D'Arcy's selection enables Geordan Murphy to continue at full-back with Rob Kearney having to settle for a place among the substitutes once again.
Winger Keith Earls, who scored two tries against the Welsh, and flanker David Wallace are included despite sustaining calf and eye problems on Saturday.
Loosehead prop Cian Healy has also been given the green light after overcoming a bruised shoulder.
Ireland are heavy favourites to complete the Triple Crown but retain little hope of successfully defending their title.
They need England to wreck France's Grand Slam party in Paris on Saturday while hoping that both themselves and Martin Johnson's side make heavy inroads into the Les Bleus' vastly superior points difference of plus 50.
Scotland, meanwhile, are battling to avoid the wooden spoon as defeat in the final rugby international to be played at Croke Park would leave them bottom of the table.
Ireland Team to play Scotland:
1 - Cian Healy (Leinster)
2 - Rory Best (Ulster)
3 - John Hayes (Munster)
4 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster)
5 - Paul O'Connell (Munster)
6 - Stephen Ferris (Ulster)
7 - David Wallace (Munster)
8 - Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
9 - Tomas O'Leary (Munster)
10 - Jonathan Sexton (SLeinster)
11 - Keith Earls (Munster)
12 - Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster)
13 - Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster, captain)
14 - Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
15 - Geordan Murphy (Leicester)
16 - Sean Cronin (Connacht)
17 - Tony Buckley (Munster)
18 - Leo Cullen (Leinster)
19 - Shane Jennings (Leinster)
20 - Eoin Reddan (Leinster)
21 - Ronan O'Gara (Munster)
22 - Robert Kearney (Leinster)