Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

O'Driscoll move to first centre is Kidney's Plan B

Declan Kidney is considering an audacious Plan B for Brian O'Driscoll and using the talisman as an emergency first centre against England.

The possibility of O'Driscoll being moved to the No 12 position on Sunday could become a reality if Gordon D'Arcy doesn't recover in time from the dead leg sustained in Cardiff.

D'Arcy has been able to take part only in a modified training regime so far this week and, according to team manager Mick Kearney, the medical staff remain "guarded" about his recovery.

To complicate matters, Keith Earls is also a cause for concern as he is suffering from a shoulder injury and has yet to see a specialist.

O'Driscoll played at inside centre in one of the Tests during the summer tour to New Zealand and moving him to No 13 is one of the options Declan Kidney is contemplating in a needs-must situation.

"Brian played in the first Test in New Zealand at first centre, so that's an option," said Kearney.

"Fergus McFadden played there for Leinster, so they would be the two options being considered at the moment."

Kearney is confident that Plan B won't have to be implemented and there are hopes that both D'Arcy and Earls will take a full part in training on Friday.

"The two biggest worries are Gordon and Keith," said Kearney. "If the game were on today neither they nor Peter O'Mahony would be able to play. But we expect that they will all train on Friday and be available for selection."

However, four players have been added to the training camp for the week as cover – Ulster duo Andrew Trimble and Darren Cave, Leinster's Rhys Ruddock and Connacht's Robbie Henshaw being brought in.

Meanwhile, full-back Rob Kearney has agreed terms on a new two-year contract with the IRFU to continue playing with Leinster until the end of the 2014-15 season.

Kearney has been negotiating with the IRFU for several months and only last week expressed frustration at the length of time it was taking to reach a conclusion, especially as it impinged on his preparations for the Six Nations.

The IRFU have now secured his services for the next two years at least, following on from the news that Cian Healy and Mike Ross have also signed new deals.

"I'm delighted to be continuing my rugby career in Ireland," said Kearney.

"Leinster Rugby has always been my home and I am very excited to be remaining here to play with a great bunch of players and coaching staff."

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