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O'Driscoll's shoulder surgery 'successful'

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL will soon take his first steps on the road back to full fitness after undergoing shoulder surgery yesterday.

The Irish rugby legend is expected to be sidelined for six months -- ruling him out of Leinster's Heineken Cup defence and the 2012 Six Nations.

"The operation was a success," said a Leinster spokesperson. "Brian is at home resting and he is looking forward to beginning his rehabilitation over the coming weeks."

Meanwhile, Clive Woodward outlined the qualities any potential successor to Martin Johnson will require to succeed as England manager.

And Woodward, who guided England to World Cup glory in 2003, believes entrepreneurial spirit could be more important to transforming red rose fortunes than experience.

Northampton director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, is the leading domestic candidate having guided the Saints from the second division into last season's Heineken Cup final.

Some people feel Mallinder does not yet have the required gravitas when compared with a veteran coach like Graham Henry, who has just won the World Cup with New Zealand.

Woodward said: "I've got nothing against foreign coaches but I'm very clear on what it takes to become the head coach of England and what skill set you need.

"You could have an inexperienced coach, as long as you interview him properly, as long he's got the skill set.

"My experience is that when people are given the chances, they can step up to the plate. There's various English coaches around who, given the chance, could actually blow you away.

"We don't have to assume a Graham Henry is the right person.

"When I was involved, one of the big things we looked for was could we get 80,000 people on their feet going nuts?

"That's what I'd ask a coach. What would you do?

"How are you going to get Twickenham so excited about you, your team, your selection, what are you going to do?" he added.