Schmidt Sure of Leinster Pairing

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt is backing the centre pairing of Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’arcy to fire for Ireland after a mix-up that lead to a French try last week.

Aurelien Rougerie brushed aside a limp D’arcy tackle before off-loading to Maxime Medard to power over the line, helping the visitors on their way to a 25-22 victory. Adidas R7 boots wearer O’Driscoll was in the wars and required treatment numerous times, and failed to replicate some of his past heroics against France.

Despite outscoring France three tries to one, a succession of Irish mistakes mean Les Blues remain unbeaten going into the critical clash against England on Saturday.

Ireland conceded 16 penalties to France’s 9 in last week’s match, leaving head coach Declan Kidney to ponder what might have been.

New Zealander Schmidt believes the experienced duo are still amongst the finest in the business, and the mistake that lead to the try was a one-off error, rather than a deeper lying problem. He said: “The relationship between D’arcey and O’Driscoll is that they are pretty good working together no matter what sort of a system it is.”

“The two tries that were scored (by Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup against Leinster, which Rougerie and D’Arcy played) weren’t really scored through the centre in the first game, and then the second game was a driven maul that they punched off close in, so I don’t think they made any breaks through the centre. I didn’t see a link.” He added.

Ireland now face Scotland at Murrayfield, and have made 8 changes to the 22 that were selected for the game against France. Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble have recovered from injury to take their place in the squad, while Gavin Duffy, Denis Hurley, Rhys Ruddock, Tony Buckley, Donnacha Ryan and Mick O’Driscoll are also included.

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