Saturday 21 September 2019

Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien struggling to be fit for Grand Slam tilt

Seán O'Brien has been out of action since suffering a hip injury in December. Photo: Sportsfile
Seán O'Brien has been out of action since suffering a hip injury in December. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Seán O'Brien is losing his race to be fit in time for Ireland's remaining two Six Nations games against Scotland and England, after Leinster confirmed that the 31-year-old would not play for them this weekend.

Following Saturday's win over Wales, Joe Schmidt insisted that O'Brien was "on the cusp" of returning for Leinster against the Scarlets on Saturday but the province have moved to quickly dampen those expectations.

O'Brien hasn't played since suffering a hip injury in the Champions Cup win over Exeter back in December.

There was significant enough damage caused for the Tullow flanker to require a small procedure, and while he will almost certainly miss the Scotland clash, his chances of making the Twickenham showdown look slim.

O'Brien has begun running, but has yet to partake in any contact. He will be continue to be monitored.

"Seánie did a volume of running last week which is good and we're pleased with his progression," backs coach Girvan Dempsey said.

Meanwhile, Schmidt paid tribute to Jamie Heaslip who was forced to call time on his successful 12-year career.

"Jamie was an intelligent and incredibly robust player," the Ireland head coach said. "Utterly professional, driven to succeed and a leader with the actions he delivered."

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