Sport Rugby

Friday 9 December 2016

O'Driscoll left sweating on injury and citation

Published 15/05/2011 | 05:00

Brian O'Driscoll is unlikely to be cited following his left-hander aimed at Chris Henry in Leinster's Magners League semi-final win over Ulster at the RDS on Friday night.

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The Ireland captain was involved in an off-the-ball incident with the Ulster back-rower in the 11th minute of a bruising encounter, which left Leinster with injury concerns over five players, including O'Driscoll who hobbled off at half-time with a sore knee, for Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Northampton Saints.

Of the other casualties -- Isaac Boss (hamstring), Mike Ross (shoulder), Cian Healy (thigh), and Richardt Strauss (bruised hip) -- Strauss might cause the most concern, given the discomfort he was in as he was helped off the field, and how slow that injury can be to respond to treatment.

O'Driscoll too was lame as he made his exit. His knee, already strapped, buckled under the weight of a heavy challenge from Johann Muller late in the opening half.

The centre played on until the break by which stage Boss and Ross had already gone. Boss pulled up after trying to punt the ball in behind the Ulster defence though he played on for another four minutes after the incident.

"I'm having it checked out today but it's nothing too major and hopefully it'll be fine for next week," Boss said yesterday.

The issue of O'Driscoll and Henry rests with citing commissioner Commander Eugene Ryan (Munster) who by yesterday afternoon had made no communication to Leinster regarding further action.

O'Driscoll had aimed a punch at Henry after first the Ulster player cut him off and then dragged him back as he was running a support line. Evidently there was intent on O'Driscoll's part but it's not clear if he made much or any contact, and if he did there was no material damage to Henry.

Referee George Clancy spoke to both players after his attention was drawn to the incident by one of his touch judges. They seemed to part on good terms and Ulster made no bones about the altercation after the game.

Ulster captain Rory Best reckons Leinster have enough in their forward pack to subdue the main threat from Northampton on Saturday, which is the power of their set scrum.

"There's no doubt about their scrum -- you saw it against us (in the quarter-final) and against Perpignan and they base a lot of their game around scrum and maul," he said.

"But there's no doubt that Leinster have a pack physical enough and aggressive enough to front up to it. If Leinster can scrummage well, have a good go off their lineout, and maul well -- and the big thing is kick-chase and counter attack.

"If you give Ashton and Foden a bit of time and space they'll kill you, but we've experienced that Leinster defence now three times this season and it's very hard to breach."

Leinster will also have the benefit of an additional day's rest. Northampton lost a bruising Premiership play-off semi-final 11-3 to Leicester at Welford Road yesterday, during which Ashton was on the receiving end of a punch from Manu Tuilagi which left him needing treatment.

Meanwhile, Munster's 18-11 victory over the Ospreys in last night's second Magners League semi-final confirmed a mouth-watering season-ending finale with Leinster at Thomond Park on May 28.

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