Is playing O'Driscoll a gamble?
Yes, in the sense that he goes into a Test against the world champions not having played for four weeks. No, given what his presence does for the team and the fact that there is no other player with his capacity to raise his game to the required level -- whatever the lead-in.
Why no Sean O'Brien in the squad?
While David Wallace was always likely to start at seven, the dynamic O'Brien seemed tailor-made for a bench-impact role. He loses out to the experience and proven grappling skills of Denis Leamy ahead of what could be an arm-wrestle from start to finish.
Does exclusion mean the end for Hayes?
Far from it. Declan Kidney still sees the Cappamore man as one of his top four props, a situation that could exist up until the World Cup. It does, however, confirm Tony Buckley's status as undisputed first-choice tight-head and, with 22-man squads at international level, Tom Court's status as first reserve.