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Paul O'Connell injury doubts remain

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Paul O'Connell. Photo: Sportsfile

Paul O'Connell. Photo: Sportsfile

Paul O'Connell. Photo: Sportsfile

PAUL O'CONNELL's fitness remains shrouded in mystery as it now seems he won't be available to line out against Ulster in round three of the Pro12, WRITES DAVID KELLY.

"He'll be ready when he is ready," said Munster coach Rob Penney yesterday after O'Connell missed training.

Stephen Archer and Dave O'Callaghan have, meanwhile, been handed the perfect opportunity to become crucial members of Munster's trophy drive this season after being named to start against Treviso tomorrow night.

Archer replaces BJ Botha at tighthead, while O'Callaghan gets the nod over Paddy Butler on the blindside.

Leinster big guns may return for Treviso clash

LEINSTER may have some Irish internationals available for their first home Pro12 game of the season against Dragons this Saturday evening.

Rob Kearney yesterday revealed that he expected most to return "in the next week or two. "We've been slogged quite badly for the last few weeks. It's been tapered down a little, because we're all gradually going to start playing for Leinster."

Zebre beef up pack for Connacht clash

OPENING day whipping boys Zebre have beefed up their pack for the home clash with Connacht by including veteran Italian flanker Mauro Bergamasco and former Italian international Josh Sole in their side.

Former Munster tighthead David Ryan again joins Italian internationals Salvatore Perugini and Carlo Festuccia in the front-row.

Aussie boss hits back at Gatland comments

AUSTRALIAN boss John O'Neill has hit back at astonishing claims from Lions coach Warren Gatland about dirty tricks involving referees in the last World Cup, following the Wallabies' pool defeat to Ireland.

"The reality is we all know referees are beyond reproach," O'Neill said in response to claims that Australia had somehow influenced Bryce Lawrence between their defeat to Ireland and the controversial quarter-final win against South Africa.

Irish Independent