Planet Rugby

D'Arcy relishing England challenge

08th February 2013 09:05


Gordon D Arcy Ireland v England SN 2012

Gordon D'Arcy: Loves defending

Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy is relishing the challenge of facing England in Sunday's Six Nations clash in Dublin.

The 32-year-old - provided he recovers from a dead leg - and midfield partner Brian O'Driscoll are set to extend their world record centre combination to 49 Tests.

By contrast, England's Billy Twelvetrees and Brad Barritt will be playing just their second match together if coach Stuart Lancaster sticks with the midfield pairing that starred in the 38-18 win over Scotland at Twickenham last weekend.

The talented Twelvetress marked his Test debut with a well-taken try while Barritt, one of the heroes of England's victory over world champions New Zealand in December, anchored the defence.

However, one of the duo could miss out if Lancaster recalls the fit-again Manu Tuilagi, who scored one and created two of England's three tries against the All Blacks.

"Manu's a unique player and a powerhouse," said D'Arcy.

"His ability to get over the gainline is phenomenal.

"But Brian and I love defending. We've always been up against really good players over the years and we've always held our own."

O'Driscoll will be aiming for his eighth successive win over England in Sunday

The veteran, who missed the November programme through injury, returned to action with a superb display in Ireland's opening 30-22 win over defending Grand Slam champions Wales last week.

Now he is preparing for another crack at England.

"They're great occasions, largely because invariably England are one of the best sides in the world," said O'Driscoll.

"You have to bring your 'A' game. It's England in Dublin and that's an exciting prospect no matter how many times you've had it."

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