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Best lined up for Twickenham

Rory Best is in line for a remarkable return to the Ireland starting line-up against England at Twickenham on Saturday week.

With Irish hooker Jerry Flannery expected to be cited today and facing a lengthy ban for his dangerous lunge on Alexis Palisson in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations 33-10 defeat by France, Best is set to face Martin Johnson’s Grand Slam chasing English side.

There were fears that the 27-year-old Ulsterman would miss the entire season after having surgery on a neck problem.

But, showing great powers of recovery, Best made a shock return for his club Banbridge last month, then played for the Ireland A team before appearing as a substitute in Ireland’s Six Nations matches against Italy and the French.

Due to the madness of Munster’s Flannery, Best’s incredible comeback should be complete at Twickenham.

Flannery poleaxed Palisson in the 23rd minute with a powerful kick directed at his legs.

Amazingly Flannery escaped with a penalty but should have been sent off for a terrible challenge that could have caused serious injury to the France winger, who limped off with a dead leg shortly after.

Citing commissioner Peter Brown, of the Scottish Rugby Union, has 48 hours to decide whether to demand the Munster hooker appears before an independent three-man Six Nations disciplinary committee.

Ireland must pick themselves up from Saturday’s resounding defeat, and flanker Stephen Ferris believes they will do just that.

“You don’t suddenly become a bad side as a result of losing one match,” said the Ulsterman.

“We were obviously disappointed to lose against France but now we must learn from this and bounce back against England.”

Ireland coach Declan Kidney admitted: “It's bound to have a psychological effect, it hits everybody. But you don't fail if you fall down, it's only if you don't pick yourselves up. That's what we have to do, pick ourselves up.”

Full-back Rob Kearney is rated doubtful to face England after incurring a knee injury against France, but Brian O'Driscoll, who also sustained a knee problem, should be fit.

Belfast Telegraph


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