I'm Ready to Be the Centre of Attention in Irish Battle

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

I'm Ready to Be the Centre of Attention in Irish Battle


Byline: By ANDY HOWELL Western Mail

Wales centre Hal Luscombe believes facing 'world stars' Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy would give him a perfect opportunity to end the on-going debate over Gavin Henson.

South Africa-born Luscombe and midfield partner Matthew Watkins have become innocent victims of the saga concerning the availability of the glamour boy after serving a 51-day suspension for foul play.

The 12-times capped outside-centre Luscombe insists the best way of keeping British Lion Henson sidelined is through action on the pitch and, more specifically, against the crack Irish duo.

O'Driscoll was Lions captain in New Zealand last summer and is rated one of the best centres in the world while fellow Lion D'Arcy appears to be back to his best following an injury-ravaged last campaign.

D'Arcy, official Six Nations player of the tournament two seasons ago, and O'Driscoll ripped the French defence to shreds during an amazing Irish comeback in Paris at the weekend, before they ultimately lost 43-31.

'O'Driscoll and D'Arcy are quality players. They are two of the best centres in Europe,' said Luscombe.

After a pause, he rephrased that, saying, 'Two of the best in the world. It would be great to have a chance to come up against them, to see where I am and test myself at international level.'

Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan was last night adamant O'Driscoll has been given a clean bill of health after limping out of a classic encounter at Stade de France in the dying minutes with leg trouble.

'Brian will be fit for the Wales clash. He had a tight hamstring and was exhausted so we took the precaution of taking him off before the end of the match,' said O'Sullivan.

D'Arcy warned Luscombe and Wales to expect a repeat of Ireland's second-half showing against the French.

'If we can put the tries away early on there will be very few teams that can live with us,' he predicted.

The 26-year-old believes the Irish will become a major force if they continue to pursue the high-risk strategy - even though it contributed to their downfall in Paris - similar to that which won Wales the Six Nations crown last season. …

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