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O’Connell backs Drico to improve on return

PAUL O’CONNELL has no doubt Brian O’Driscoll will play rugby again and believes the Ireland captain’s injury-enforced break is a "great decision" that will see him return better than ever.

O’Driscoll revealed this week that surgery on a persistent shoulder problem will keep him out of the game for six months and, following his own successful return from long-term injury earlier this |year, O’Connell had words of encouragement for his Ireland |and Lions colleague.

“I have no doubt he will come back, absolutely no doubt,” said O’Connell, one of the candidates to take over as Ireland captain for next year’s Six Nations.

“I suppose it’ll be fun for people to write him off now in the papers or whatever for a few months, but I have no doubt he’ll come back.

“With his mental strength and the way he is made up, I have no doubt he’ll come back and he will probably have a great finish to his career because of the break. It’ll probably do him well.

“Sometimes when you are rehabbing injuries all the time, it doesn’t do any harm to have something that rules you out for |a few months so you can work on a few other things.

“You can work on your speed and your strength and different things like that.

“The break refreshes you and I think there is probably one or two more seasons in him, he’ll probably play all the better for it. That’s his thing, he is mentally very strong and I know it was a struggle for him.

“I know when I play, I hate to play injured, you want to be 100pc all the time. It really rattles you when you are not. It has probably been a tough few months for him like that, but I think it is a great decision for him for his career.”