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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
O'Driscoll fit for Ireland opener
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll was expected to miss the Namibia match
Skipper Brian O'Driscoll and flanker David Wallace return to action as Ireland name a strong team for their World Cup Pool D opener with Namibia.

O'Driscoll has recovered from a facial fracture while Wallace's chronic ankle problem has eased sufficiently for him to play in Sunday's game in Bordeaux.

The only player missing from what would be Eddie O'Sullivan's full-strength side is injured winger Shane Horgan.

He is replaced in the back division by Ulster's Andrew Trimble.

O'Driscoll said his early return to the side had come as an unexpected bonus.

"The fact I was told originally I would be out until the Georgia game, meant I'd accepted that as the day that I would come back," he told BBC 5live.

"It serves as a nice pick-me that I'm able to play and I am looking forward to it very much. You want to play in the first game and it is very difficult sitting on the sideline.

"It's hard to know what to expect from Namibia, we don¿t have a huge amount of footage on them.

"A lot of them play Currie Cup in South Africa, so we will have to play a smart game to break them down but at the same time if we play well we can be convincing winners."

O'Sullivan was relieved to be able to turn to O'Drsicoll and Wallace.

This is really the culmination of four years' work since the last World Cup in Australia

Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan

"It's great to have Brian back as captain so quickly. He means a lot to the team," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport.

"Brian was given the all clear on his fractured sinus earlier this week and he took a full part in training.

"David has also come on well. We had earmarked this game for his return and everything was on schedule.

"We now just can't wait to get started. I hate all the waiting around.

"This is really the culmination of four years' work since the last World Cup in Australia. It's been a long road, particularly as you also have to take in the Six Nations as well."

O'Driscoll picked up his injury during the infamous "Battle of Bayonne" two weeks ago and he was not expected to be ready for another week at least.

Horgan's recovery from a knee injury sustained in the warm-up before the Scotland game last month is also making progress and he is likely to face Georgia in Ireland's next game on Saturday week.

Ireland's bench is also fairly predictable. Ulster half-backs Paddy Wallace and Isaac Boss are alongside forwards Neil and Simon Best with Jerry Flannery as replacement hooker and Geordan Murphy as a utility back.


Ireland: G Dempsey: A Trimble, B O'Driscoll, capt, G D'Arcy, D Hickie; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, R Best, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, S Easterby, D Leamy, D Wallace.
Replacements: J Flannery, N Best, M O'Kelly, S Best, I Boss, P Wallace, G Murphy.

Namibia: T Losper; R Witbooi, B Langenhoven, P van Zyl, H Bock; E Wessels, E Jantjies; K Lensing (captain), H Horn, J du Toit, W Kazombiaze, N Esterhuize, J Nieuwenhuis, H Senekal, J Burger.
Replacements: J Meyer, J Redelinghuys, M MacKenzie, T du Plessis, J van Tonder, LW Botes, M Africa.


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