Sport Autumn Internationals

Sunday 21 September 2014

‘No cause for alarm’ as Drico sits on the sidelines of last-minute training

Published 08/11/2013 | 14:36

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BRIAN O’DRISCOLL sat out this morning’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium but defence coach Les Kiss insists that the Ireland centre will be available to start against Samoa.

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The former captain has only played one game this season against Cardiff Blues on September 27 after sustaining a calf injury, but he has trained fully with Ireland over the past fortnight and the coaching staff say they are happy with his progress.

“Everything’s fine, everyone had a run today so we’re in a good place in that respect,” Kiss said.

"There are no issues, Brian’s worked his way back for a slight injury concern over the past five or six weeks, but has trained basically fully for the past two weeks and it is a regular thing that he takes a lesser part in some sessions. But he’s OK.”

Having had his first look at the pitch at Lansdowne Road, Kiss allayed any concerns about the surface. The Havelock Square end of the stadium has been bare since Roger Waters performed at the venue and it played badly during the FAI Cup final last weekend.

But the Australian said it would not be an issue.

“It looks alright there, we didn’t do a lot of work in terms of scrummaging, but a lot of work has gone into it and hopefully it will be alright,” he said.

8 November 2013; Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll makes his way off the pitch with team manager Michael Kearney during the captain's run ahead of their Guinness Series International match against Samoa on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
8 November 2013; Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll makes his way off the pitch with team manager Michael Kearney during the captain's run ahead of their Guinness Series International match against Samoa on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
8 November 2013; Ireland players after having a squad picture taken during the captain's run ahead of their Guinness Series International match against Samoa on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
8 November 2013; Ireland players after having a squad picture taken during the captain's run ahead of their Guinness Series International match against Samoa on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
8 November 2013; Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss during a press conference ahead of their Guinness Series International match against Samoa on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Press Conference, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
8 November 2013; Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss during a press conference ahead of their Guinness Series International match against Samoa on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Press Conference, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Kiss admitted that there was an excitement around the camp for the Guinness Series to get underway, but said the players had to channel that emotion into a performance.

“Any November series has a certain demand on wanting to perform well with limited preparation time,” he added.

“Obviously, there is an expectation around the new environment that’s being built and we’re all anxious to get out there. It is all about keeping that emotion where it is and make sure we focus on the things that we practise for.

“We need to get the small things right, manage the excitement and channel it to the right areas. There is excitement, but it is also aligned to the fact that we’re playing a very good team. Samoa, we’ve been through their games and they are a lethal unit, we’ve got to make sure we’re right for it.”

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