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O'Driscoll major doubt for Saracens showdown

LEINSTER and Ireland will be hoping for positive medical reports on the fitness of Brian O'Driscoll following the centre's hamstring injury in Saturday's Heineken Cup victory over Racing Metro.

O'Driscoll was forced off in the 57th minute of Leinster's 38-22 win at the RDS and an update on his condition is due this afternoon.

However, at this stage, the Ireland captain looks extremely doubtful for this weekend's trip to Wembley Stadium to take on Saracens, while the injury could threaten his participation in the opening November international against South Africa on November 6.

Fergus McFadden was the try-scoring replacement for O'Driscoll on Saturday and would be favourite to come into the side if the centre is ruled out, although coach Joe Schmidt also has the option of moving Luke Fitzgerald to midfield and bringing Shane Horgan back onto the wing.

Munster, who lost scrum-half Tomas O'Leary (broken thumb) and centre Tom Gleeson (jaw) to injury last week, are hopeful that they can choose from the same squad that earned a vital bonus point in a bruising battle against London Irish in Reading on Saturday.

"There's nothing serious," said coach Tony McGahan. "A lot of hurt bodies; it was a quick game, it was a tough game. Fingers crossed that we get through the week."

However, there is the risk that McGahan could be without centre Sam Tuitupou if the All Black is cited for the dangerous tackle on London Irish scrum-half Paul Hodgson that earned him a yellow card on Saturday.

Lifeimi Mafi was suspended for seven weeks for his tackle on Gordon D'Arcy and with Gleeson injured, if Tuitupou was suspended, Munster's resources at centre would be severely challenged.

Irish Independent