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Gatland 'spills the beans' on O'Brien


Lions' head coach Warren Gatland. Picture: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Lions' head coach Warren Gatland. Picture: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Lions' head coach Warren Gatland. Picture: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

LEINSTER must be outraged over British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland's announcement that Seán O'Brien will be out for two weeks with bone bruising.

"He has come in and been looked at by the medics," said Gatland, which includes Ireland Team Doctor Eanna Falvey. "Hopefully, he's going to spend this week with us. It's a bit of bone bruising by all accounts. That's only a couple of weeks, maybe. We are just hoping it's not longer than that.

Earlier in the day Leinster had stated that O'Brien could play this weekend against Ulster.

"With bone bruising it's a little bit unpredictable. But he's come in and they have said it was a little bit more positive than they had first thought which was good," said Gatland.

Gatland has always been viewed as a 'loose-cannon' from past pronouncements on controversial issues. He is also known for being straight-up about other aspects of the game that most coaches like to keep close to their chest. Selection is one.


Leinster will need all hands on deck to cope with Ulster at The RDS on Saturday and have to be unhappy that Gatland has chosen to give Ulster a heads-up on O'Brien.

In real terms, Ulster will devise a plan around the different dynamic that Leinster bring without O'Brien to carry the ball forward. The Tullow man was deemed to be Leinster's primary injury concern at yesterday's press conference, but not ruled out of the match.

"We're just going to wait-and-see on Seán O'Brien, give him as long as we can," said Feek.

"He got a bruise on his knee. We will see how that settles down. It is a new injury. Hopefully, he'll be alright."

There was better news on centre Brian O'Driscoll – "he looks fine" – and on hooker Richard's shoulder – "seems to be going okay.

Fergus McFadden will be monitored through the week for a bang to his head.

Scrum-coach Feek is expecting a different Ulster animal in the PRO12 League final to that which imploded against Leinster in the 2012 Heineken Cup final.

"We fully respect the task ahead of us with a fully freshened and fired-up Ulster," he said.

"We are under no illusions. No matter what we do.

"We still have to get that right on the day."