O'Connell set to face Wales

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 17:02
Large john plumtree   paul o conn Large paul o connell aus.jpg630 Large paulo connelljoeschmidtsixnationstrophy

Wales will face Ireland captain Paul O'Connell on Saturday if his recovery from illness continues as expected.

Wales will face Ireland captain Paul O'Connell on Saturday if his recovery from illness continues as expected.

The Munster lock sat out Ireland's Six Nations opener with Scotland with a chest infection but is expected to be fit and well in time to feature against the champions in Round Two.

O'Connell, who skippered the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and has played 88 times for Ireland since 2002, was due to face the Scots in Dublin but pulled out on the morning of the game.

Question marks subsequently surrounded his involvement against Warren Gatland's troops at the Aviva Stadium but those doubts have now been put to bed by Ireland team manager Mick Kearney.

"Paul didn't participate in today's training but hopefully he will be able to do so fully on Thursday," said Kearney.

"We're pretty confident he'll make a full recovery [in time to face Wales]. He's been out in the fresh air for the past two days."

O'Connell has responded well to antibiotics and is now set to line up alongside either Devin Toner or Dan Tuohy as Ireland look to build on their big victory over Scotland on Sunday.

Toner was the man selected to start alongside 34-year-old O'Connell last time out and the Leinsterman impressed in the line-out and in the loose as Joe Schmidt began life in the Six Nations with a comfortable 28-6 success.

But Ulster's Tuohy, who only learnt of his inclusion at breakfast before the 3pm kick off, was also hugely influential as Ireland disrupted the Scottish set-piece and eventually broke down a stubborn defence.

Fullback Rob Kearney, another player who shone in Round One, missed training on Tuesday after taking a knock to his calf but neither he nor prop Cian Healy, who didn't run on Tuesday but did scrummage, are seen as doubtful to face Wales.

Leinster duo Eoin Reddan and Luke Fitzgerald have been ruled out, though, with the scrumhalf and utility back struggling with calf and abdominal injuries respectively.

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