Heaslip holds off O'Driscoll

Thu, 17 Jan 2013 12:39
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Jamie Heaslip has kept his place as Ireland captain in the Six Nations training squad, despite the return of former skipper Brian O'Driscoll.

Jamie Heaslip has kept his place as Ireland captain in the Six Nations training squad, despite the return of former skipper Brian O'Driscoll.

Coach Declan Kidney named a 39-man squad that will be split in two for the Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on February 2 and the second-tier Wolfhounds match against the England Saxons later this month.

Heaslip led his country during the year-end Tests in November, and with O'Driscoll only recently returning from injury Kidney wants to give the star centre on opportunity to focus on his own game.

"Jamie had done a really good job for the squad and management during November and I felt that now was the correct time to do this," explained Kidney.

"Brian has had very little rugby in the last number of months and I think he deserves the space and time to concentrate on getting himself back playing fully fit."

Heaslip said he was "incredibly honoured" to retain the captaincy and O'Driscoll pledged to give the Leinster forward his full support.

"The captaincy has been a big part of my career and life over the last number of years, and while I was naturally very disappointed not to be leading the team in the Six Nations, when I talked it through with Declan, I accepted the reasons behind the decision," said O'Driscoll.

"Jamie will do a fantastic job and along with the other senior players in the leadership group, I will be giving him all of the support that he needs."

With Ulster forward Stephen Ferris ruled out by injury, Sean O'Brien may move to blindside flank, while former captain Paul O'Connell is also out.

"There are quite a few players who have been out injured and could be lacking game time, so this will be the ideal chance for them and the newer members in the squad to challenge for places in the senior team," said Kidney.

"After the Wolfhounds game we will able to name a smaller squad, which will train together and prepare for the Wales game."

Ireland squad: Isaac Boss, Darren Cave, Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, Rob Kearney, Ian Madigan, Paul Marshall, Fergus McFadden, Dave McSharry, Conor Murray, Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Simon Zebo, Michael Bent, Rory Best, Sean Cronin, Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip (captain), Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, David Kilcoyne, Mike McCarthy, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Peter O'Mahony, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Lewis Stevenson, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner.

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Sat, 13 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
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Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Saracens v Wasps 16h00 Allianz Park
Munster v Ospreys 17h00 Irish Independent Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Thu, 18 February 2016
TUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Pretoria
Fort Hare v Wits 16h30 East London
Fri, 19 February 2016
Zebre v Leinster 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 12 February 2016
Scarlets v Edinburgh 22 | 21
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 26 | 14
Leinster v Zebre 52 | 0
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 13 | 10
Thu, 11 February 2016
Dragons v Connacht 21 | 26
Mon, 08 February 2016
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 17 | 23
UJ v NMMU-Madibaz 19 | 12
Maties v CUT-Ixias 40 | 0
UWC v UKZN-Impi 13 | 24
Wits v TUT 53 | 0
UP-Tuks v NWU-Pukke 15 | 38
Sun, 07 February 2016
Ireland v Wales 16 | 16
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 11 | 14
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 20 | 13
Sat, 06 February 2016
Scotland v England 9 | 15
SIX NATIONS
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Team P W D L Pts
England 1 1 0 0 2
France 1 1 0 0 2
Ireland 1 0 1 0 1
Wales 1 0 1 0 1
Italy 1 0 0 1 0
Scotland 1 0 0 1 0
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