Ireland’s injury concerns ease
Brian O'Driscoll: "Looking at the video analysis we could see how far off the mark we were. You can't just play for 40 minutes." Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Rugby:Seán O’Brien sat out Irish training today with a sore calf, while other injury concerns Gordon D’Arcy, Peter O’Mahony and Keith Earls all took full part. Although Declan Kidney will wait on a medical report today regarding Earls, the list of players he may have had worries about seems to have diminished ahead of Ireland’s game against England on Sunday at the Aviva Stadium.
“We are still monitoring the players but on the performance today in training, we are hopeful,” said assistant coach Mark Tainton this afternoon. “Keith seems to be recovering very well. We will wait and see now the report that comes back from the specialist and take it from there.”
Elsewhere Brian O’Driscoll said that he had given the Lions captaincy no thought at all. When asked how much he had considered the job the Irish centre said “none.” While he admitted that the Lions tour was an issue on most players minds his main thought for the week was to recover from the physical tally taken on his body last weekend in Wales, where he received stitches in his head.
O’Driscoll conceded that as he gets older it takes longer for his body to recover after matches, especially bruising affairs like the game against Wales in the Millennium Stadium. He added that after watching the video analysis Ireland had many shortcomings that needed to be addressed before the game with England.
“Coming off the pitch (in Wales) I was aware of plenty of shortcomings,” said O’Driscoll. “Looking at the video analysis we could see how far off the mark we were. You can’t just play for 40 minutes. We have to hold the ball for a longer time and cannot play the proverbial game of two halves.”
O’Driscoll is also looking forward to the challenge of facing England behemoth Manu Tualagi, who looks set to make a return to the England back line after an ankle injury. “Manu brings a huge physical presence,” he added. “He gives them good gain line. It’s a case of trying to shut down that space. Good teams use decoy runners as well so it’s not just Manu in the role.”