Tuesday 25 July 2017

Leinster 'really happy' with O'Driscoll's progress

David Kelly

David Kelly

Just two days after going under the surgeon's knife, Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll is already contemplating his course of rehabilitation as his team-mates continue to adjust to life without BOD.

"Brian is really happy, the medical staff are really happy," said the really happy Leinster coach Joe Schmidt.

"I know he's in good spirits and he's already talking about rehab. I don't know how soon he can start that but that's the nature of him, he's determined to come back better than ever."

If Schmidt is stressed at constantly filling a gaping hole in his team-sheet each week, he is scarcely showing it.

Fergus McFadden, for whom the mysteriously late announcement that he had suffered a "dead leg" in last week's visit to Montpellier sees him ushered out of the squad altogether, was the only Leinster man to be rocked back on his heels yesterday.

Eoin O'Malley has performed creditably at outside-centre beneath the spotlight before and Schmidt may have already decided to give the 23-year-old another chance to shine regardless.

"Eoin did a really good job and was developing really well during the World Cup," explained Schmidt of a selection that now seems to overshadow all others in a squad that, aside from welcoming back Cian Healy from injury, sees the benching of Shane Jennings, Richardt Strauss and Isaac Boss.

"We opted for Fergus last week to really get him into the team as soon as possible.

"It's a tricky balancing act at the moment. So it's good to have Eoin there.

"Fergus got a dead leg above the knee. It's a bit debilitating. At a push he could have made the grade but it would have been an unnecessary risk when you have a good guy like Eoin to come in there and offer something.

"Fergus will be 99pc okay next week unless he gets another knock on his medial ligament. We thought it safer to leave him out.

"He's very frustrated, he's a very competitive young man. He saw a window of opportunity so he's really disappointed.

"At the same time, we've confidence in Eoin and that adds to his frustration.

"Luke Fitzgerald is another option, while Brendan Macken played very well there (for Leinster A) against Esher last weekend.

"We're trying to make sure everyone is getting a look in and that there's no certainty about the position. We want genuine competition there."

Irish Independent

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