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O’Driscoll faces race against time in bid to be fit for Heineken Cup showdown with Saints

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Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll watches yesterday's training session at the
RDS from the sidelines. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll watches yesterday's training session at the RDS from the sidelines. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll watches yesterday's training session at the RDS from the sidelines. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Brian O'Driscoll has admitted that his Heineken Cup final chances are in the balance as he continues his desperate race against time to be fit for Saturday's Cardiff showpiece.

O'Driscoll won't train until tomorrow but will not undergo any serious work until the eve of the final when Joe Schmidt will make a final decision on his star centre's fitness.

The Ireland captain sustained damage to his troubled knee in last Friday's Magners League semi-final win against Ulster at the RDS. He has spent the last few days using a specially devised ice machine in his bid to regain fitness.

"It's a bit in the balance for the weekend," said O'Driscoll. "I'm not training today and don't envisage doing much tomorrow.

"I have a chance later in the week to prove my fitness and I'll just have to take it day by day. It feels a bit better from Friday night, so I have to see if it steps up another level.

"I've had my knee strapped through the Six Nations and November, I've had it strapped for almost 18 months -- since last year's Six Nations, it was just a medial ligament and the strapping was to tighten it.

"This is different. Looking back at the video footage, I got my leg caught in the wrong position and couldn't get it out of there. You can't go stressing too much, what's going to be is going to be, you have to deal with it.

"I barely stepped outside the house at the weekend," he said.

"I had the ice machine on for the swelling to put myself in a position to recover as best as possible. We'll see how we are Wednesday and Thursday."

Richardt Strauss (hip) and Isaac Boss (hamstring) are also ruled out of training until tomorrow but are expected to play, as are Cian Healy (eye) and Mike Ross (shoulder).

Jonny Sexton (leg) confirmed his fitness yesterday. "I was probably at about 90pc on Friday," he said. "I was nearly there, but I didn't really try to put the foot down."

Northampton's Tom Wood is losing his race to be fit for the final at the Millennium Stadium, where the roof is expected to be closed.

Irish Independent