FERGUS McFADDEN has been ruled out of Sunday’s meeting with the All Blacks after it was confirmed that he has broken a bone in his hand.
Johnny Sexton has not been ruled out of the meeting with the world champions after straining his hamstring, while Darren Cave and Felix Jones have been called up as cover for Brian O’Driscoll who hurt his calf in the 32-15 defeat to Australia and Rob Kearney who has a rib injury.
O’Driscoll is confident that he can come through the week unscathed and face New Zealand for the final time and said his calf was not an excuse for his underpar performance against the Wallabies.
“I’d be pretty positive. I’ve been a bit unfortunate this year with a few niggly things. My calf has slowed me down and has stayed with me and I could feel it on Saturday and managed to see it,” he said.
“If I handle the week well, I shouldn’t be far off. It’s not any reason to use it an excuse for not playing brilliantly. In plenty of other games I’ve managed injuries, it’s part and parcel of the game. You have to cope with picking up knocks.”
The former captain admitted that Ireland were poor last weekend.
“Our accuracy was poor, we started poorly and individually and collectively we didn’t get into the rhythm or get going. Fortunate at half-time to be three points down and we had optimism, but we deteriorated in the second half, made poor errors and they made us pay,” he said.
“The intensity was lacking, but that doesn’t worry me as when you hear that from your coaches and fellow players then you can rectify that.”
O’Driscoll reckons that this All Black team is one of the best he has played against and believes Ireland can cause a shock despite last week’s display.
“For a while I think it is (their best side),” he said. Anyone that saw that game against South Africa realised they were two brilliant sides, to win one of the great spectacles makes you realise how good they are.
“But, if you catch them on an off day and things go right, it can happen for us. We’ll put ourselves in the same position, treating this game like one we can win.
“I’m the eternal optimist. No one will give us a chance, but that’s OK with us.”