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O'Driscoll A Big Doubt For Final

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Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll is attended to by team doctor Dr. Jim McShane, left, and team physio Garreth Farrell, as referee Pascal Gauzere assess the situation. Picture: Brendan Moran/ Sportsfile.

Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll is attended to by team doctor Dr. Jim McShane, left, and team physio Garreth Farrell, as referee Pascal Gauzere assess the situation. Picture: Brendan Moran/ Sportsfile.

Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll is attended to by team doctor Dr. Jim McShane, left, and team physio Garreth Farrell, as referee Pascal Gauzere assess the situation. Picture: Brendan Moran/ Sportsfile.

LEINSTER will not have Gordon D'Arcy for the Amlin Challenge Cup final and they may not have Brian O'Driscoll either.

Leinster will not have Gordon D'Arcy for the Amlin Challenge Cup final and they may not have Brian O'Driscoll either.

D'Arcy has succumbed to a tear in his calf and is "finished for the season", according to Leinster assistant coach Richie Murphy.

As for O'Driscoll, he "is the main one" to monitor as Richardt Strauss (knee), Seán O'Brien (calf), Leo Cullen (eye stitches), Fergus McFadden (shin), Kevin McLaughlin (black eye) and Dave Kearney (concussion) are all good to go.

"Brian is recovering. It is a little bit slower than we would have liked. It is still progressing reasonably well. A decision won't be made on him until later on in the week," said Murphy.

The pressure of time will be difficult to overcome given the six-day turnaround from a back spasm that prevented O'Driscoll from training yesterday.

Reacted

"It is one of those things that comes and goes. He is a bit tight through the lower lumbar area of his back. It probably hasn't reacted as quick as he'd like."

Indeed, Murphy appeared resigned to losing both of his centres, leaving a large hole that could be filled by Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden and/or Andrew Goodman.

"We have a squad of players here. If Brian O'Driscoll is fit for the weekend, he'll be considered. If he's not, we'll just move somebody else into his spot.

"We're going to miss him (if he doesn't play). There is no doubt about that. You can't play a game without missing someone like Brian O'Driscoll.

"But the big thing for us is that we'll get a clear picture. The player that will slot into his role will understand exactly what's needed of him. And they'll deliver."

Leinster skills and kicking expert Murphy has been sequestered as the "backs coach" for the Emerging Ireland squad at the Tblisi Cup next month.

"It was only last week I was asked would I travel as backs coach. I am looking forward to it. I think it is a great opportunity to do more coaching," said Murphy.

Could it be the first step in the transition from Leinster to Ireland, or indeed, in a dual role with province and country?

"Anybody would be interested in it, working with the Irish team. The one thing I would say is that I am contracted to Leinster for next year. I don't see that changing.

"It is something that hasn't really come up yet. At the moment, we (Leinster) are just trying to get ourselves through these next couple of weeks."

It all begins with Stade Francais in the Amlin final on Friday night: "They have played very well in the Amlin.

"They have obviously had two massive wins away from home in the quarter-final and semi-final," said Murphy.

Dangerous

"Their ability to offload, to play high tempo, when the game breaks up – they are a dangerous team to try and play against, obviously a massive, big maul as well.

"We expect a very difficult game with people like (Sergio) Parisse and (Paul) Williams and (Geoffrey) Doumayrou, all these boys. They've also had two weeks to prepare for this which is a massive advantage for a team.

"We are down to one-and-a-half sessions this week to put into practice what we want for the weekend. In saying that, we'll be there and we'll be ready.

"It is a luxury to play a European final in the RDS in front of our own crowd. It is going to be a fantastic occasion."


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