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Thursday 17 April 2014

Fresh final fears for O'Driscoll as recovery from back injury stalls

Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll's chances of featuring in the Amlin Challenge Cup final at the RDS against Stade Francais on Friday appear to be receding as his recovery from a back spasm remains worryingly sluggish.

Having been instructed to rest for 48 hours following his premature withdrawal from last Saturday's Pro12 semi-final win against Glasgow, the four-time Lions selection did not appear at Leinster training yesterday.

And, with Gordon D'Arcy confirmed as an absentee from the rest of Leinster's double tilt – and presumably also this summer's Irish tour to North America – Leinster may have to fill a gaping midfield chasm against the French.

"Brian is recovering," said Leinster assistant coach Richie Murphy. "It is a little bit slower than we would have liked. It is still progressing reasonably well. A decision won't be made on him until later on in the week."

The bottom line is that O'Driscoll will have to declare himself fit when Leinster undertake their last training session before the final tomorrow morning.

"He is a bit tight through the lower lumbar area. It probably hasn't reacted as quickly as he would have liked," added Murphy.

While O'Driscoll (above), conscious of the Lions tour, will be allowed to make the final decision himself, Murphy insists Leinster can cope with his absence.

"If Brian is fit for the weekend, he'll be considered," Murphy said. "If he's not, we'll just move somebody else into his spot.

"You can't play a game without missing someone like Brian but the player that will slot into his role will understand exactly what's needed of him. And they'll deliver."

Leinster's other walking wounded – Cian Healy, Kevin McLaughlin, Jamie Heaslip, Dave Kearney, Fergus McFadden and Richardt Strauss – have all been declared fit for the sold-out final.

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