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Trimble Keen To Take Centre Stage

Trimble Keen To Take Centre Stage

Gordon D’Arcy’s injury-enforced absence for the rest of the Six Nations championship could see Andrew Trimble slot in at centre for Ireland, a position he favours at provincial level.

Trimble, who has made 11 starts for his country either on the right or left wing, switched into midfield after D’Arcy broke his arm during the first half of Saturday’s 16-11 win over Italy at Croke Park.

The Coleraine man would clearly relish the chance to start alongside Brian O’Driscoll in Ireland’s engine room next Saturday as Eddie O’Sullivan’s men look for their first win at Stade de France since 2000.

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“I feel much closer to the action in terms of playing in the centre. I’ve switched into 12 as well for Ulster,” he explained after the victory over Italy.

“During a game, it’s always going to be difficult to make the change but I got a lot of help from Brian O’Driscoll and Ronan O’Gara.”

In terms of the Irish management’s options, O’Sullivan has hinted that he may opt to go with a 12-13 combination of Shane Horgan and his Leinster team-mate O’Driscoll, after Horgan proved his fitness when captaining Ireland ‘A’ against England Saxons on Friday.

But Trimble has been battle-hardened after his hour in midfield against the Azzurri, and the 23-year-old thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“I loved it in there. You get a whole lot more ball when you’re in the centre. We were devastated when Gordon (D’Arcy) went off but we had to make do and Rob (Kearney) did really well when he came on.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself. There’ll be a selection on Tuesday and we’ll look at it then. In terms of Brian, I’d like to think we’d be able to get together and form a good partnership.

!I’ve played at 12 a few times for Ulster, it’s just a matter of switching depending on whether you’re playing from right to left or left to right,” he added.

Trimble had a key role in setting up Ireland’s only try against Italy, scored by Girvan Dempsey 18 minutes in.

The Ulster ace cleverly waited for an O’Gara cross-field kick to bounce before gobbling up possession at pace, drawing in two defenders and offloading in perfect time for the supporting Dempsey to power over.

“Yeah, I could have taken it on the full but I decided to let the kick bounce and try to go through the tackle,” he said, recounting the try.

“I knew Girv would be in support. We tend not to be too prescriptive, we’d had a similar move when Ronan put it out on the full so to a certain extent you have to play it as you see it.

“As for Girv’s support, well, I play with these guys a lot so you know the lines these guys are going to pick.”