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O’Driscoll And D’Arcy Take Centre Stage Again

O’Driscoll And D’Arcy Take Centre Stage Again

Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy have been at the heart of Ireland’s midfield since 2002 and will equal a world record against England when they join each other at centre for the final round of matches in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations.

England’s Will Carling and Jeremy Guscott currently hold the world record for the number of appearances together at centre with 45 (44 for England and 1 for the British & Irish Lions).

But the Leinster and Ireland pairing of Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy moved to within one of that mark during last weekend’s defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

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Their current tally of 44 matches together for Ireland includes three appearances off the bench by D’Arcy (against France, Italy and South Africa in 2009). This Saturday’s game at the Aviva Stadium will be their 42nd Test start together.

There are also two more fixtures in which they both appeared in the Ireland matchday squad (against Fiji in 2002 and against the Pacific Islanderss in 2006), but on those occasions D’Arcy actually replaced O’Driscoll.

The crunch clash with England will be their 27th start in the Six Nations and their 29th overall.

O’Driscoll is the world’s most-capped centre with 117 caps for Ireland and the Lions, with only one appearance coming off the bench. That was against Romania in the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Ireland played England on 57 occasions at the old Lansdowne Road, twice at Croke Park and there have also been Test encounters in Rathmines, at Ravenhill and the Mardyke in Cork.

Indeed, England were Ireland’s opponents in their first three Tests and were the first visiting national team to play in Ireland. That was at the Leinster Cricket Ground in Rathmines on December 13, 1875.

England’s first visit to Lansdowne Road came 133 years ago, and this weekend will be their debut at the new Aviva Stadium. They have scored 98 tries in their 60 visits to Dublin so far.

For a full recap of the sides’ Test history, please click here.