Kidney keeps faith in same XV
Gordon D’Arcy (dead leg) and Peter O’Mahony (concussion) have recovered from the injuries sustained in last weekend’s win over Wales allowing Declan Kidney to name an unchanged starting XV for Sunday’s crucial meeting with England at the Aviva Stadium (3pm).
Keith Earls was also a worry after sustaining a shoulder injury late on in the Millennium Stadium but he has also recovered in time to feature among the replacements.
Young wingers Simon Zebo and Craig Gilroy are retained after strong performances against the Welsh.
D’Arcy and O’Driscoll will face Billy Twelvetrees and Brad Barritt in midfield with powerhouse English centre Manu Tuilagi only named among the replacements.
The big test will come in the front row where Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross will look to atone for the embarrassment suffered in the scrum at Twickenham last year.
With both England and Ireland recording victories in Round 1 and France losing out to Italy, Sunday’s game will determine who is in pole position to claim a Grand Slam.
Ireland (v. England): R Kearney; C Gilroy, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; M McCarthy, D Ryan; P O’Mahony, S O’Brien, J Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, D Fitzpatrick, D O’Callaghan, C Henry, E Reddan, R O’Gara, K Earls.