O'Connell returns for Ireland

  • Last Updated: February 6 2014, 14:58 GMT

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell has beaten his chest infection in time to face Wales in RBS 6 Nations action in Dublin on Saturday.

Paul O'Connell: Has recovered from a chest infection
Paul O'Connell: Has recovered from a chest infection

The talismanic lock slots in for Dan Tuohy in Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad, with stalwart centre Gordon D'Arcy returning after a stomach bug.

UIster lock Tuohy replaces club-mate Iain Henderson on the bench, in the only other change from the 23 head coach Schmidt fielded in last week's 28-6 Scotland victory.

O'Connell admitted he has taken a fair amount of stick from former Ireland team-mates for being laid low by his chest complaint last week.

"I've just got a little bit of a cough left, that's all," said the 34-year-old.

"It's a bit embarrassing really: I've copped plenty of slagging from the old-school players I've played with for years.

"I've just finished a course of antibiotics, I'm finishing them today.

"I've played matches on them before, so I don't struggle with it at all."

Schmidt does not expect any similar last-minute dramas with his captain this weekend.

"If we get through Saturday morning with him he'll be fit and ready to go!" joked Schmidt.

"He trained fully on Thursday and I'm confident there will be no late changes to that this time around.

"As soon as I saw the name on my phone on Sunday I knew something was up.

"The doctor doesn't ring at eight in the morning to ask if I want to go for a coffee."

Elsewhere, there is no place for 22-year-old centre Luke Marshall in the match squad, who concedes the 12 shirt to 34-year-old D'Arcy.

Ulster wing Andrew Trimble's try-scoring turn against Scotland has been enough for him to hold off Fergus McFadden, who again takes a seat on the bench.

Leinster duo D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll extend their world-record joint caps haul as a centre partnership, for the visit of Warren Gatland's Wales.

Head coach Schmidt has had little need to change his squad, after last week's comfortable three-try victory over Scotland.

The hype surrounding the meeting of O'Driscoll and Gatland, who dropped the 25-year-old centre for the final British and Irish Lions Test, continues.

But Schmidt will be keen to draw a line under that, with Ireland expecting a severe test against the two-time reigning Six Nations champions this weekend.

Ireland: R Kearney, Trimble, O'Driscoll, D'Arcy, D Kearney, Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross, Toner, O'Connell (c), O'Mahony, Henry, Heaslip

Replacements: Cronin, McGrath, Moore, Tuohy, O'Donnell, Boss, Jackson, McFadden


New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30