O’Connell and O’Driscoll face fight to get Ireland spots back, says O’Kelly

Former Ireland second row Malcolm Kelly says Paul O'Connell and Brian O'Driscoll will have to fight for their places back

brian o'driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll has 120 Ireland caps Photo: Paul Walsh

brian o'driscoll

Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll will have to fight to get their places back in Declan Kidney’s Ireland side for next year’s Six Nations, according to former second row Malcolm O’Kelly.

O’Connell and O’Driscoll, who are both 33, missed the autumn international series due to injury, with the new crop impressing in a 46-24 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton scored two tries, matched by Ulster’s Tommy Bowe, while Craig Gilroy, Richard Strauss and Simon Zebo all crossed the line to wrap-up victory and cement Ireland’s top-eight ranking.

Lock Donnacha Ryan was named man-of-the-match, with former Ireland international O’Kelly certain competition for places in Kidney’s starting XV next spring will be fierce.

“I think the guys coming back in, like Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll, have to prove that they are capable of taking on that green jersey,” O’Kelly told RTÉ Sport.

“There is no right to ownership of the Irish jersey, they’ll know themselves. They will back their own ability as well but if they are 100%, they’ll think they are good enough and that’s then for Declan Kidney to make his decision on.

“He knows now that he’s got players that he can trust as well as the players that are coming in and it’s a good position for Kidney to be in.”

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