Saturday 18 November 2017

O'Driscoll in cup contention

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll is eager to be thrust into Ireland's preparations for the World Cup after declaring himself fit.

Ireland manager Paul McNaughton stated last week that O'Driscoll's first appearance this month was likely to be against France on Saturday week. The 32-year-old has been struggling with a neck/shoulder injury and missed the weekend's 10-6 defeat by Scotland.

It is doubtful he will be picked for Saturday's trip to Bordeaux for the first part of the double-header against France, but he is keen to be involved as soon as possible. He said: "It's rare enough as an older generation player that you're 100% fit - there's always something niggling."

He added: "But I'm feeling pretty fit at the moment. I've enjoyed the training camp.

"When I get onto the pitch I'll be ready for it. I'm in as much need of match practice as any other player. Until I get to play a few games I won't really be at full speed."

The defeat at Murrayfield, sealed by a late try from Scotland centre Joe Ansbro, had pre-season stamped all over it, but O'Driscoll insists it was an encouraging start to the month.

"The guys did extremely well," said the Lions and Leinster centre. "We were a bit disappointed with our attacking options but defensively, other than the score at the end, we were very solid.

"There were some huge positives to take out of the game and some guys put their hands up and caused some serious headaches for (coach) Declan Kidney.

"It's tough to sit out an international, whether that's because you've been injured or you haven't been selected.

"You want to be out there while there's someone else on the pitch in your number jersey hoping to impress the coaches."

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