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Drico jaw flawed

BRIAN O’DRISCOLL should miss Leinster’s Heineken Cup double-header against Clermont next month, although the 2009 championsremained tight-lipped about the Irish captain’s health yesterday.

O’Driscoll suffered a suspected broken jaw in Sunday’s 29-9 victory over Argentina at Lansdowne Road and had to be removed from the field under the instruction of the referee, Mark Lawrence. The Irish captain was unable to attend post-game media duties and left immediately to have the injury X-rayed before a decision could be made regardingsurgery.

Leinster confirmed that there will be an update today after a medical assessment, with an absence of five or six weeks the most likely outcome, which would compound the confirmed absences of Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald from the Clermont clashes on December 12 and 18.

Munster captain Paul O’Connell may be included on the bench for his side’s clash with Cardiff at Thomond Park this Saturday, ahead of a potential return to action in their Heineken Cup double-header against the Ospreys.

O’Connell made a successful comeback to playing action after eight months on the sidelines, playing 40 minutes for Young Munster against Shannon on Friday.

Coach Tony McGahan must now decide whether to put him straight into Magners League action or allow him to play for Young Munster against Dolphin. “My plan now is to play as many games as I can, be it with Young Munster, Munster ‘A’ or Munster, whatever I can, in order to improve my match fitness,”

O’Connell said. “Tony McGahan will decide where I go from here. It will probably be during the week when any decision is taken.”

Meanwhile, Ireland moved up to fifth place in the IRB world rankings, just behind England, after Sunday’s victory over Argentina, while New Zealand will finish the year on top.

Meanwhile, the IRFU has moved to end the rancour over their Ticket Pricing Policy for the autumn internationals by revealing significant price reductions for the Six Nations.

The IRFU’s gaffe of initially parcelling the four November internationals into one amount caused anger from clubs and patrons at a time of recession.

Subsequently, the IRFU rowed back to split the bundling into two groups –South Africa-Samoa and New Zealand-Argentina – in a move seen as reactionary rather than fair-minded.

It would appear the IRFU has taken on board the criticism and adopted an inclusive strategy to the new ticketing policy. In addition, it was done quickly in the afterglow of Ireland’s win over Argentina.

Pat Fitzgerald, chairman of the IRFU Commercial and Marketing Committee, who chaired the ticket working group, said: “We were tasked by the Union to come up with a pricing structure that would provide options to supporters at various levels and secure capacity crowds for France and England.

“We also needed to be cognisant of the role international fixtures play in generating the income required to manage and develop the game at both the domestic and professional levels.”

The IRFU has decided to adopt a five-tier system. There will be 1,800 tickets made available to school children at €15 each, to be located in the North Stand (a 62.5pc price reduction), 2,500 tickets at €50 each sited for the East and West Upper Stands and the touchlines (a 50pc cut), 5,000 tickets at €65 for parts of the East, West and South Upper Stands and portions of the North Stand (a 35pc price drop), an €80 asking price for 4,500 tickets in parts of the East, West, South and portions of the North Stand (a 20pc fall) and a 10pc cut to the €90 price tag applied to 13,000 reserved for some of the seats in the East, West and South Stands. Premium Level Tickets (3,200) stay at €125.