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O'Brien's expected to be fit for the big trip to Twickenham

IRELAND team manager Mick Kearney expects openside Sean O'Brien (foot) to be fit for selection for Saturday's crunch clash with England at Twickenham.

"Sean was released from hospital over the weekend. He was in hospital from (last) Monday right through until the weekend and probably lost a couple of kilos of weight. But he is in good form," team manager Mick Kearney said yesterday.

"The medical staff will obviously monitor him during the week and certainly would be pretty confident he will be available for selection.

"He is training today and that is obviously a very good sign. The infection has cleared up which is obviously good as well and he is not on any antibiotics or anything like that. We are pretty sure he will be available for selection."

Captain Rory Best (ribs) and lock Donnacha Ryan (shoulder) are also in a race against time to be fit for selection against England.

Best was called ashore in the 54th minute of the Scotland clash to protect a rib injury that was obviously more serious than the management had been willing to admit last week.

"Test rugby is an extremely physically demanding game. It is tough, but we have been dealt those cards and we have to manage them as best we can," added Kearney.

"It is not ideal and we would love to have got the week's break that we were due and I think that would have made it slightly easier.


"But getting the win on Saturday was hugely helpful in terms of the guys' form and general well-being and we will go out and give it our best shot against England on Saturday."

Kearney does not expect there to be any problems with motivation ahead of the trip to London.

"They are professional players and, to a large extent, they are used to playing week in, week out.

"I don't think there will be any issue from the mental point of view with getting them up to play against England at Twickenham on St Patrick's Day."