O'Connell added to spiralling injury list
RUGBY: Irish lock Paul O’Connell has been ruled out of the opening game of the Guinness Series against South Africa on Saturday due to a back injury that has hampered him in recent months.O’Connell returned to training at the start of this week at the Irish team base in Carton House and took a full part in the squad sessions on Monday and Tuesday, but suffered a reaction and will not be fit for selection for Ireland this weekend’s game against South Africa in Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Irish secondrow, who recently turned 33-years-old, would probably have been Irish captain in the absence of Brian O’Driscoll, also on the injury list. O’Connell will see a specialist in the coming days to try and resolve what has been an ongoing issue.
His late withdrawal brings to six the number of backbone players who will not be taking part in the match. Fullback Rob Kearney, hooker and former captain Rory Best and flankers Stephen Ferris and Sean O’Brien are all sidelined through injury alongside O’Connell and O’Driscoll.
The most recent injuries have hurt Kidney most as the have come unexpectedly. Tullow’s O’Brien was not expected to be back contending until December while Kearney underwent back surgery recently following repeated issues with a disc. Best injured his neck playing for Ulster, while Ferris suffered back spasms before limping out of Ulster’s game against Edinburgh with an ankle injury last Friday night
O’Driscoll, who played his best 20 minutes with Leinster against Cardiff Blues in the RDS, turned his ankle and subsequently had surgery to repair ligaments.