Sean O'Brien Cup World Cup KO a 'massive loss' - Jacob Stockdale
Jacob Stockdale has admitted that Seán O'Brien's World Cup absence is a "massive loss" ahead of the World Cup as the flanker admitted that his latest hip operation represents the last chance saloon for his playing career.
Joe Schmidt yesterday named his extended 44-man preliminary squad for the Japan assignment this autumn but it was already known that O'Brien, and fellow flanker Dan Leavy were destined to miss out through injury. "Seán is a great carrier with so much experience," said Stockdale.
"And Dan is such a presence at the breakdown. They are both massive losses.
"But we still have people like Jordi Muphy and Josh van der Flier who are world-class players and that is testament to the depth that has been created under Joe."
Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey and Quinn Roux were notable omissions from Schmidt's squad.
O'Brien revealed that his summer hip operation will be a "shot in the dark" as he wonders whether he can prolong his career after signing a three-year deal with London Irish.
The Tullow man has played with pain for the past year and admits that he hasn't been able to perform at his best as a result.
"I'd only be bluffing if I tried to manage this for the next few months to get to a World Cup when I'm not training and performing the way I want to," he admitted.
"So that's why I'm going to have this op. It's a shot in the dark, really. It's going to be a whole resurface of my hip joint.
"It's a similar procedure to the one Andy Murray underwent earlier this year so we'll see where it takes us.
"But it's one where I'm excited about it, if it works, and it will keep my career going for another few years."
Irish coach Schmidt has insisted that players like Addison, Roux and McCloskey still have a chance to come into the World Cup reckoning despite their omission.
"Some players have missed out through injury and there are one or two guys that may be added into the squad at a later stage," the Kiwi confirmed.