Tag Archives: saxons

Stuart Lancaster hails Danny Cipriani return

Lancaster hails Cipriani return but confirms fly-half is behind Farrell and co in pecking order

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UPDATED:

13:16 GMT, 20 March 2012

England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster welcomed Danny Cipriani's return to the Aviva Premiership, but warned him he faces a fight to regain his England place.

Sale Sharks confirmed the signing of Cipriani from the start of next season on Tuesday morning – as predicted by Sportsmail on Monday night.

The 24-year-old fly-half will be available to play for England once he completes his spell at Australian franchise Melbourne Rebels at the end of the Super Rugby season in August, and Lancaster is happy he is returning.

Coming home: Cipriani has signed for Sale Sharks

Coming home: Cipriani has signed for Sale Sharks

Biding his time: Lancaster has warned Cipriani he will have to work his way up the pecking order

Biding his time: Lancaster has warned Cipriani he will have to work his way up the pecking order

Lancaster told Sky Sports News: 'I'm pleased Danny is coming back to England. I had a conversation with him about Christmas time about his motivation to play for England which is still great.

'For him to put his hat in the ring so to speak he needs to be back in England playing and it's a great signing for Sale and great for northern rugby.'

Cipriani has been ineligible for selection for England since his move to Australia last year, but he will he hoping to feature in the autumn internationals if he can find his feet quickly at Sale.

However, Lancaster has warned the former Wasps man that he is firmly behind Owen Farrell, Charlie Hodgson and Toby Flood in the pecking order as things stand and may have to make do with a Saxons place to start with.

'He's coming back into a pretty competitive position to be honest. When you look at the strides that Owen Farrell has made during the Six Nations to Charlie Hodgson's contribution… Toby Flood is a high-quality player whom we've all got a lot of time for and respect and not only that you've got a lot of lads coming through as well,' he said.

'He's going to have to earn his right in the same way everyone else will and the way you do that is by playing well for your club and buying into their culture and proving that you should be first of all a Saxons player and then a senior player.'

Leicester 42 Newcastle 15: Thomas Waldrom double helps Tigers maul Falcons

Leicester 42 Newcastle 15: Waldrom double helps Tigers maul Falcons

Two tries from Thomas Waldrom helped
Leicester Tigers leapfrog Northampton into third place in the Aviva
Premiership table after a comfortable home win over struggling
Newcastle.

With Leicester wrapping up the
four-try bonus point just two minutes into the second half, the result
leaves Newcastle still six points adrift of London Wasps at the other
end of the table.

Leicester withstood a barrage of
early pressure to take the lead against a Newcastle side playing
primarily for field position.

Try time: Horatio Aguila scores for Leicester Tigers

Try time: Horatio Aguila scores for Leicester Tigers

Teenage fly-half George Ford – the 19-year-old son of Newcastle defence coach Mike Ford – stepped up to slot a penalty from out on the right after a dominant midfield scrum.

Momentum swung further Leicester's way when visiting centre James Fitzpatrick was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle, and within a minute his side were down by double figures.

From a line-out on the left Tigers worked play to the opposite flank, Horacio Agulla breaking free to set up the close-range ruck from which flanker Julian Salvi sniped in for a try.

Ford added the extras, and opposite number Jimmy Gopperth was similarly accurate with a penalty from straight in front to get his side off and running.

Heavy roller: Leicester's Graham Kitchener is tackled by Newcastle's Jeremy Manning

Heavy roller: Leicester's Graham Kitchener is tackled by Newcastle's Jeremy Manning

The extra man in the backs saw Leicester in for a second try on 22 minutes, this time from centre Billy Twelvetrees as the England Saxons cap rounded off a three-on-two in the right corner.

Another scrummage infringement allowed Ford to slot a second penalty, and more sloppy set-piece work from Newcastle saw a third try for their hosts as an overthrown line-out eventually saw Agulla cross down the left for a 23-3 interval lead.

It took just two minutes of the second half for them to add to that tally and secure the four-try bonus point, turning down a kickable penalty and setting up the catch-and-drive from which Thomas Waldrom rumbled over.

The Falcons finally found their way to the try-line with half an hour remaining through former Tigers academy prop Jonny Golding, who squirmed his way over down the left from close range after a burst from Fitzpatrick.

Wriggling through: Leicester's Steve Mafi gets away from Jonny Golding

Wriggling through: Leicester's Steve Mafi gets away from Jonny Golding

But with Taiasina Tu'ifua sent to the sin bin for pulling a player back off the ball, the visitors' already slim hopes of a comeback were reduced to dust as Leicester cranked up the power for the closing quarter.

From the very next scrum Waldrom dotted down for a pushover try – his second score of the afternoon – with Newcastle emptying their bench in readiness for Friday's home date with Harlequins.

With their seven-man pack being shunted from pillar to post a sixth Tigers try seemed an inevitability, and it duly arrived as Leicester sucked numbers to the left.

Ford stepped back into the pocket and floated a perfectly-weighted cross-field kick into the right corner for replacement wing Niall Morris – the Irishman catching the ball in acres of space to score.

Replacement flanker Richard Mayhew ploughed over for a late consolation from a ruck to the left of the posts, Gopperth converting, but it made little difference to the eventual outcome.

Worcester sign Paul Hodgson from London Irish

England scrum-half Hodgson signs deal to swap London Irish for Worcester


Summer move: Scrum-half Paul Hodgson

Summer move: Scrum-half Paul Hodgson

Worcester have signed England international scrum-half Paul Hodgson on a three-year deal from London Irish which will start next season.

The 29-year-old has made over 200 appearances for the Exiles but has decided to join former England lock Nick Kennedy in leaving the club this summer.

Worcester head coach Richard Hill said: 'Paul is a hugely competitive, positive and enthusiastic player who has a fantastic attitude. he has huge drive to win at absolutely everything he does.

'He is a scrum-half who is lively around the park, knows how to control a game and puts his body on the line for the good of the team. He is a great character to have on the field and I know his enthusiasm will be infectious and will impact on those around him.

'We are determined to only bring people to the Warriors who will give 100 percent in every game they play and will improve our squad. Paul will do just that and has the work ethic and winning mentality to push the club forward.'

Hodgson, who has won nine England caps and is currently a member of the Saxons squad, vowed to give his all to help London Irish reach the Aviva Premiership play-offs.

Making a break: Hodgson leaves Irish having won nine England caps

Making a break: Hodgson leaves Irish having won nine England caps

'I am excited by the rest of the season at London Irish and totally focused on helping the team move forward in the Aviva Premiership and make the end of season play-offs,' he said.

'Worcester Warriors are an ambitious club with a strong coaching set-up and really developing playing squad.

'After meeting with Richard Hill I truly understood the aspirations of the club and I'm looking forward to playing my part in that development.

'I have thoroughly enjoyed my eight years at London Irish and I have been lucky enough to play with some fantastic team-mates and under a great management team. The support from the fans has always been amazing.'

Wasps 17 Saracens 22: Alex Goode"s boot fires Sarries to victory

Wasps 17 Saracens 22: Goode's boot fires Sarries to victory

Alex Goode scored 17 points with the boot for Saracens at Adams Park to inflict a seventh successive defeat on Wasps in the Aviva Premiership.

Full-back Goode, back from duty with England Saxons, slotted five penalties to make sure the defending Premiership champions, who were guilty of failing to make superior possession tell, at least secured victory with some comfort. Wing James Short was the only man to cross the tryline for Sarries.

The victory puts Saracens three points behind leaders Harlequins, while Wasps hold a nine-point gap over bottom club Newcastle going into a run of tough matches against Exeter, Sale and London Irish.

Best foot forward: Goode's kicking formed the basis of Sarries' win

Best foot forward: Goode's kicking formed the basis of Sarries' win

Saracens were without five England internationals but they dominated the first half, with veteran Irish scrum-half Peter Stringer ubiquitous and industrious, and were unlucky to not be more than two points up after 40 minutes.

Wasps looked more lively in the second period as scrum-half Joe Simpson – who only arrived back from Rome on Sunday morning after acting as a non-playing reserve for England in Italy – joined the fray with 10 minutes gone.

Wasps showed 10 changes to their side as an injury crisis showed signs of abating, and they made an encouraging start as number eight Billy Vunipola and hooker Tom Lindsay crossed in the first 22 minutes.

Vunipola made some battering runs from the base of the scrum during the opening minutes and popped up on the left to take Riki Flutey's pass and touch down, with Nicky Robinson converting.

Sarries responded immediately, though, with two penalties by Goode from close range in the next five minutes, the first because of Vunipola leaping offside.

Bursting through: Fraser skips past the tackles while Saul (below) holds off a challenge

Battle: Fraser skips past the tackles while Saull (below) holds off a challenge

Bursting through: Fraser skips past the tackles while Saul (below) holds off a challenge

If the visitors felt those six points were scant reward for a period of pressure, they gained further from a stroke of luck shortly afterwards when Short snatched Vunipola's high pass and sprinted in from the halfway line for a score that Goode converted.

But Wasps struck back as Lindsay ran on to a kick from Robinson, on his return from a calf injury. The hulking hooker collided with the post but the video official confirmed that he held on as he went to ground. Robinson again added the extras to edge the hosts back in front.

Goode's third penalty ensured Saracens went in 16-14 ahead at half-time and he took the lead out to five points with another successful kick three minutes into the second period.

Robinson cut Sarries' advantage back to two points with a 68th-minute penalty but Goode's fifth penalty made the result safe.

Sting in the tail: Wasps' challenge fell just short

Sting in the tail: Wasps' challenge fell just short

Scotland A 35 England Saxons 0: Weir leads the way as Scots thrash bitter rivals

Scotland A 35 England Saxons 0: Weir leads the way as Scots thrash bitter rivals

Scotland A showed their senior counterparts the way ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield as they emphatically beat England Saxons in Galashiels.

Tries from Duncan Weir, who finished with 20 points, plus Stuart Hogg, Rory Lawson and Matt Scott saw the home side pile on the points under the Netherdale floodlights as the visitors finished with no reward.

A crowd of 4,124 enjoyed a feast of rugby from the Scots who were for the most part a real force.

Here we go! Duncan Weir celebrates his try for Scotland A against England

Here we go! Duncan Weir celebrates his try for Scotland A against England

Scotland dominated the first half and were well worthy of their 13-0 lead at the interval.

Coach Michael Bradley had called for Borderers to get behind the team and he was not disappointed.

The Scots were full of running and when England were penalised for not rolling away, Weir kicked the goal to give the Scots a start on the scoreboard after just three minutes.

The English were unable to stretch the Scotland defensive line, where the tackling was secure.

Scores on the doors: Scotland thrashed their English counterparts

Scores on the doors: Scotland thrashed their English counterparts

It was a Hawick man who delighted the
crowd when Glasgow full-back Hogg stormed home over 60 metres and Weir
converted for a 10-0 lead.

Scotland tackled aggressively and denied the Saxons any scoring opportunities and the English were short of ideas beyond the Scottish 22.
Scotland missed an opportunity to add to their lead with a penalty as Weir pulled his kick wide.

England lock James Gaskell fell foul of referee Leighton Hodges after 37 minutes, sin-binned for a high tackle on Matt Scott. The Scots started to make the extra man count, and when England were caught offside, Weir kicked his second penalty for a 13-0 interval lead.

Hold it: England player Ed Slater runs through the tackle of Tom Brown

Hold it: England player Ed Slater runs through the tackle of Tom Brown

The Scots were well on top and Weir ran in his try in the 52nd minute as he sped from a scrum to score under the posts, and then converted his own score.

And when Ed Slater was the second Englishman to be binned, Weir stretched the home lead.

It was all Scotland as Lawson and Scott added further tries and Weir converted one.

Six Nations: England"s new breed are fired up and ready for Scotland

England's new breed are fired up and ready for Scotland

If Scotland assume they hold all the aces in terms of passion and pride going into Saturday’s Calcutta Cup showdown, the presence of Phil Dowson in the England side should disprove that notion.

Once the 30-year-old Northampton back-rower’s selection for a Test debut at Murrayfield was confirmed by Stuart Lancaster yesterday, Dowson made it plain that matching the intensity and commitment of the hosts will not be a problem.

Asked if he is primed to match the fire of the Scots in England’s RBS Six Nations opener in Edinburgh, the new No 8 said: ‘Because it has been such a long-standing ambition for me and such a struggle getting there, it’s not a massive issue for me.’

Ready for action: Stuart Lancaster has fostered a strong team ethic

Ready for action: Stuart Lancaster has fostered a strong team ethic

Motivational speeches will not be required in Dowson’s case.

For years, he has been so near but so far from England recognition. Setting appearances records for the Saxons is not a player’s target as a c.v. entry, with its always-the-bridesmaid, never-the-bride connotations.

Dowson has captained the Saxons several times, too, as well as leading Newcastle. He has played non-cap matches for his country, earned piles of awards, man-of-the-match honours galore and endless plaudits for being among the most consistent performers in the Aviva Premiership.

Hyped: No 8 Phil Dowson won't need a motivational speech

Hyped: No 8 Phil Dowson won't need a motivational speech

But the ultimate tribute to his work always eluded him.

Not any more. Dowson was one of three debutants — along with Saracens centres Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt — named by Lancaster in his starting XV to face Scotland tomorrow and one of eight in the matchday squad of 22. Dowson is delighted that his dedication and perseverance has been rewarded.

‘I’ve always tried to get here but there’s always been a huge amount of talent in the back row, so it’s been tough,’ he said. ‘I’ve tried to use the experience of not being picked as motivation to get here and it’s finally paid off.

‘I want to make sure I seize that opportunity and relish it. The England coaches would always speak to me and say, “These are the strengths and weaknesses of your game and this is the pecking order”. That’s something you’ve got to deal with. The ambition was always to get here and one of the routes was the Saxons.’

Having been picked to start at No 8, Dowson admitted missing out on a place in England’s World Cup training squad last summer was a hammer blow at the time.

‘It was a huge disappointment,’ he said. ‘But the advice I was getting from family, friends and club coaches was, “Keep trying your hardest, keep knocking on the door and, hopefully, it’ll open”.’

Barritt is another newcomer who received staunch support from his club when he was repeatedly overlooked by England. The Anglo-South African centre featured against New Zealand Maori at the end of the summer tour in 2010, but further opportunities didn’t come, with the suggestion being that he didn’t fit with the emphasis on bulk and power in midfield.

Pulling in the same direction: Scotland should not underestimate the new-look England

Pulling in the same direction: Scotland should not underestimate the new-look England

But he continued to prosper for Saracens as an integral part of their title-winning team last season, and his effective link-up with Farrell and Charlie Hodgson in this campaign clinched his place in Lancaster’s plans.

As a player with considerable experience of intimidating arenas from his time with the Durban-based Sharks in the southern hemisphere Super 14 (now 15) competition, Barritt feels equipped to handle the volatile atmosphere at Murrayfield.

‘If I were picking the most hostile venue in South Africa, it would definitely be playing in Pretoria against the Bulls,’ he said.

England v Scotland… the numbers

211 Scotland's seven substitutes have 211 caps between them, 22 fewer than the England starting XV.

26 The average age of England’s Six Nations squad, compared with last season's average of 27 years and 10 months. They also have less experience with an average of 15 caps in the starting line-up against last year's 23.

1965 The last time England tried an uncapped centre pairing from the same club was 47 years ago – Cambridge University duo Geoff Frankcom and Dave Rosser in the Five Nations opener against Wales.

4 England captains had less experience than Chris Robshaw – the uncapped Fred Stokes, Fred Alderson, Joe Mycock and Nigel Melville.

2 England players survive from Murrayfield two years ago – prop Dan Cole and hooker Dylan Hartley.

0 During his reign as England manager, Martin Johnson tried 11 centres in 13 combinations. Stuart Lancaster picks his first midfield pairing with no caps between them.

‘In European rugby I would say Clermont — which was a great atmosphere, but definitely hostile. Another one playing in the Super 14 was against the Waikato Chiefs, who had a guy in the crowd with an electric handsaw! It was a good experience and entertaining, too.

‘I expect to see some Bravehearts out on the pitch at Murrayfield. You have really just got to take it all in and soak up the atmosphere. We are expecting a hostile welcome.’

The presence of Barritt, Farrell, Hodgson and David Strettle in the England back line has led Scotland to assume the visitors will adopt a gameplan based on the structured Saracens model.

Barritt insists that won’t be the case from the outset, although it could be a fall-back option. ‘We have got a different structure from Sarries,’ he said.

‘Stuart has set a basic framework which lets the players express themselves and play attacking rugby, but we will have to adapt to whatever conditions or playing styles come our way. If it means reverting back to a more direct approach, we have that in our locker.’

New faces: England's Phil Dawson, Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt (L-R)

New faces: England's Phil Dawson, Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt (L-R)

Barritt revealed a host of his relatives are making the journey from South Africa to see his England debut at Murrayfield. There are so many new faces in the England ranks — with Rob Webber, Geoff Parling, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson and Jordan Turner-Hall on the bench — that there are bound to be several English families making the journey to Edinburgh.

They will travel in hope and excitement, for those are the sentiments engendered by Lancaster’s bold selection. Whether that selection is based on an ultimately nave belief in the country’s young talent, only time will tell.

Stuart Lancaster tough on Delon Armitage

Lancaster issues tough response as Armitage is arrested over 'assault'

Stuart Lancaster declared that he will continue to banish England players until the penny drops about the need to improve behaviour, after the RFU confirmed that Delon Armitage had been arrested for alleged assault.

The acting head coach of the national team was forced to make another disciplinary stand by throwing Armitage out of the Saxons squad, just three weeks after dismissing Danny Care from the senior ranks for drink-driving.

In this latest ugly episode, the London Irish full back was detained, questioned and bailed in Torquay after an alleged confrontation in a nightclub which left a local man with a split lip, according to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Arrest: Delon Armitage is being probed by police for an 'assault'

Arrest: Delon Armitage is being probed by police for an 'assault'

Having taken decisive steps to
address yet another off-field controversy, Lancaster said: ‘What’s
important is the reaction to the action – how you deal with it – and
certainly the message we want to give is that this sort of behaviour
isn’t tolerated and if players can’t work that out, they will be
suspended or de-selected. Eventually, the message will get through and
if it doesn’t get through it will be reflected in selection or
suspension.

‘We take issues surrounding the
behaviour of England players very seriously and as such have decided to
suspend Delon from the Saxons pending the result of the police inquiry.
We will then consider if further action is appropriate under the EPS
code of conduct.

Axed: Armitage played for Saxons against Irish Wolfhounds on Saturday

Axed: Armitage played for Saxons against Irish Wolfhounds on Saturday

'High standards of behaviour are
required from England players and they also need to understand that they
should not put themselves in a potentially vulnerable position.

'It’s extremely disappointing, but we
have made the right decision in response to this. I had no option, to be
honest. I think the message will get through.

‘I spoke to Delon and he was
disappointed to get himself in this position. I’ve also spoken to Toby
Booth (London Irish director of rugby) and Damian Hopley (chief
executive of Rugby Players’ Association). Everyone has been supportive.’

London Irish added their support to
the RFU stance and this incident is bound to have wide-reaching
implications for Armitage, who spent part of his childhood in Brixham,
near Torquay.

Rebuilding job: Stuart Lancaster is trying to mend England post-World Cup

Rebuilding job: Stuart Lancaster is trying to mend England post-World Cup

First of all, there could be further action by the union, although there wasn’t in the case of Care.

And in light of this latest
disciplinary setback, his prospects of a recall to the senior England
squad any time soon have vanished. That is likely to encourage him to
take up the option of a move to Toulon in France at the end of this
season.

Being reunited with his brother
Steffon on the Cote d’Azur would serve as a fresh start, but would also
signal the end of his Test career.

Just last week, Armitage suggested he was being ‘victimised’ after four suspensions for a variety of offences last year.

Unfortunately, this latest episode –
if allegations against him are proved – suggests a volatile temperament
that he is unable to control.

London Irish sign George Skivington from Leicester

Leicester lock Skivington seals move to London Irish next summer


Powerhouse: George Skivington

Powerhouse: George Skivington

London Irish have signed lock George Skivington from Leicester in a three-year deal.

The 29-year-old former Saxons skipper will head to the Madejski Stadium during the summer after 40 appearances for the Tigers over the last two seasons.

Exiles head coach Toby Booth said: 'George is a powerhouse.'

Gloucester 34 Toulouse 24: Charlie Sharples stars in famous win

Gloucester 34 Toulouse 24: Magic May runs the show in famous victory

Gloucester stunned French champions Toulouse thanks to their group of speedsters led by Jonny May and Charlie Sharples.

May scored two tries and Sharples one as Gloucester finished the Heineken Cup pool games in euphoric mood at Kingsholm.

Gloucester finished third in Pool Six and must now concentrate on the Aviva Premiership but Toulouse, despite the defeat, still qualified for the quarter-finals as pool winners following Harlequins’ shock defeat.

Famous win: The Cherry and Whites celebrate their victory over Toulouse

Famous win: The Cherry and Whites celebrate their victory over Toulouse

‘That was a great performance,’ Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath said. ‘We knew they had picked a strong team but I thought everyone, including all the subs, made a difference. They were a credit.’

Sharples and May showed why they will be playing for England teams in the next month. Sharples, a candidate for the Calcutta Cup on February 4, made one first-half try for flanker Akapusi Qera followed by his own classic second-half effort which had 13,077 fans on their feet.

Flying high: Luke Narraway wins a lineout for the home side

Flying high: Luke Narraway wins a lineout for the home side

May played a part in that 47th-minute try, converted by Freddie Burns, who contributed 14 points in all, and that score put Gloucester 21-17 ahead.

Toulouse had been 17-14 up at the break thanks to tries from captain Thierry Dusautoir and wing Timoci Matanavou, both converted by Lionel Beauxis, who added a penalty.

Burns put Gloucester 24-17 ahead through a penalty, only for Toulouse to draw level via Matanavou’s second touchdown.

Speed demons: May (second right) and Sharples (right) both starred in the win

Speed demons: May (second right) and Sharples (right) starred in the win

But Burns edged Gloucester ahead again, and May galloped away six minutes from time after James Simpson-Daniel had broken the initial cover.
May’s next stop is the Saxons clash against Ireland at Exeter a week on Saturday.

Six Nations 2012: Luke Fitzgerald left out of Ireland squad

Winger Fitzgerald big name casualty from Ireland Six Nations squad

Luke Fitzgerald has been omitted from Ireland's 24-man senior squad for the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.

Fitzgerald, a big-name absentee from last year's World Cup, has instead been included in the second-string Wolfhounds squad to face England Saxons on January 28.

Missing out: Luke Fitzgerald is not in the Ireland squad for the Six Nations

Missing out: Luke Fitzgerald is not in the Ireland squad for the Six Nations

Ireland squad:

R Best (Ulster), T Bowe (Ospreys), T Court (Ulster), S Cronin (Leinster), L Cullen (Leinster), G D'Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), C Healy (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster), S Jennings (Leinster), R Kearney (Leinster), F McFadden (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), J Sexton (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster), P Wallace (Ulster).

The Leinster winger has been rejuvenated since his failure to win a spot among the 30 that departed for New Zealand and has been viewed as a contender to replace Brian O'Driscoll at outside centre.

O'Driscoll will miss the entire Six Nations after undergoing shoulder surgery, with Keith Earls, Tommy Bowe or Fergus McFadden competing to deputise.

Ulster's Darren Cave, who has been in superb form and was viewed as a leading contender to replace Ireland's skipper, was yesterday ruled out for six weeks because of a foot injury.

Scrum-halves Tomas O'Leary and Isaac Boss have both been confined to the Wolfhounds with Boss the only member of the World Cup squad selected for the second string.

Geordan Murphy, who also travelled to New Zealand, is absent from the 24 but earlier this month stated he was available in the event of an injury crisis.

Apart from the injured O'Driscoll and Denis Leamy, all 22 who slipped to a 22-10 quarter-final defeat by Wales last October are present among the senior squad.

Time to recover: Brian O'Driscoll will not play in the tournament

Time to recover: Brian O'Driscoll will not play in the tournament

They will be joined during next week's training camp in Limerick by the uncapped Ian Nagle, Peter O'Mahony, Tiernan O'Halloran, Paddy McAllister, Andrew Conway and Simon Zebo.

The 22 to face Wales in the Six Nations opener at Lansdowne Road will be named on Monday week.

Alongside O'Driscoll, Leamy and Cave, David Wallace, Felix Jones, Jerry Flannery, Eoin Griffen and Niall Ronan were not considered due to injury.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney said: 'It's a new tournament for us and for everybody involved, so irrespective of the highs and lows of the World Cup, it is a fresh and exciting challenge for us.

'The tournament begins what is a big year for us, with a three-Test tour to New Zealand to come in June and ranking points all important for the 2015 World Cup in 2015.

'But for all that, the Six Nations always stands out as high point.'