FEARS that Brian O'Driscoll may have reinjured the strain to his calf muscle that took five weeks out of his season last October have faded.
The 35 year-old's body was put to the maximum test against England on Saturday until he was forced off early with a pronounced limp.
It would seem that O'Driscoll's calf cramped up enough for coach Joe Schmidt (pictured) to remove him from the action.
The Irish centre suffered a tightening or cramping-up of the calf and was taken off more precautionary purposes. A Grade-1 strain carries a time-out period of 7-10 days, a Grade-2 4-6 weeks and a Grade-3 anything up to months. It was also instructive to see O'Driscoll standing pitch side for part of the Women's international between England and Ireland which followed the men's equivalent.
At the beginning of last October, O'Driscoll damaged his calf at a Leinster training session, ruling him out of the first two rounds of the Heineken Cup and making him a doubt for the Ireland November internationals
He recovered in time to make the first of those three against Samoa five weeks later. Of course, he cannot afford any such disruption at this point, less than three weeks out from the final two internationals of his career and this Six Nations.
In fact, the next assignment at home to Italy in The Aviva Stadium will give O'Driscoll outright ownership of the world-record for test internationals, moving him one ahead of Australian scrum-half George Gregan on 140 caps.
Irish edged out
TRIES from Sarah Hunter, Kay Wilson and Marlie Packer helped England to a 17-10 victory over the Irish women's team at the end of an enthralling encounter watched by an estimated 13,000-strong crowd in Twickenham on Saturday. Larrisa Muldoon's 31st-minute try had made it 10-7 to Ireland, but Wilson's score at the end of the first half enabled England to rein in Ireland.