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In Pics: Ireland Training At St Gerard’s (3)

In Pics: Ireland Training At St Gerard’s (3)

Click here for photos from the Ireland squad’s training session at St Gerard’s School, Bray, County Wicklow, on Thursday.

Pictured above: Two of the recent newcomers to the Ireland squad, Munster hooker Jerry Flannery (left) and Wasps scrum half Eoin Reddan (right), who boast just one cap between them, stretch before Thursday’s session. Reddan, 25, is the only uncapped player named in the matchday 22 for Saturday week’s clash with Italy.

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan said of his squad selection for the 6 Nations opener: “I have gone for form. It’s the 6 Nations so you don’t muck around and pick guys just to see how they are going to do.

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“Some of the younger guys have forced their way in, they have pushed out some of the more experienced players. These guys now have to deliver.”

Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll on the run at training. O’Driscoll, back and fully fit after sustaining a dislocated shoulder injury in the first Lions Test against the All Blacks last June, said of his period on the sidelines: “I really want to do well for my province and country and I hope that will show in my performances.

“I wouldn’t say that I lost my hunger, but inevitably, when you play rugby for a long period of time without a break maybe the buzz goes somewhat. It’s just the way you feel about the game. Maybe you don’t get as big a high out of it as you used to.

“It’s just like anything in life, but I am back now and raring to go.”

Geordan Murphy and Brian O’Driscoll see the funny side of things at training. Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, speaking at Wednesday’s RBS 6 Nations Launch in London, reckoned that untimely injuries cost Ireland a potential championship title last year. The Corkman said: “As far as I’m concerned, our losing of the championship last year was based on injuries. We lost Shane Horgan for two games, Brian (O’Driscoll) for one and Gordon D’Arcy for the entire tournament. That dismembered our midfield – it was our undoing.

“You can’t predict these things but I would say with a clean bill of health and everyone right, we can give everyone a rattle.

“I think the beauty of the 6 Nations is its unpredictability. This time last year, nobody gave Wales a chance and yet they went on to win a Grand Slam and play some very good rugby along the way.”

Peter Stringer tries to hold onto a dropping ball at training.

David Humphreys, captain for Ireland’s only autumn Test win against Romania, flings out a pass.

Former Connacht and Munster scrum half Eoin Reddan.

Gordon D’Arcy with ball in hand at St Gerard’s.

**All photos by Dan Sheridan of Inpho Photography**