Brian O’Driscoll is facing an anxious wait to see if he will be fit in time for Leinster’s Heineken Cup final showdown against Northampton after picking up an injury in Friday’s brutal clash against Ulster.
The Irish centre was in the wars during Leinster’s Magners League semi-final 18-3 win against rivals Ulster, and limped off with a knee problem mid-way through the contest.
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt described the game as a “demolition derby” after three other Leinster players joined O’Driscoll in the physio room, but believes it was “superb” preparation for the pivotal game against Northampton next Saturday.
“There were bodies littered all over the field at times. It was a really good, competitive match and it was superb preparation for the Heineken Cup final clash with Northampton Saints,” he commented after the game.
Schmidt also added that O’Driscoll, who will hoping for a spectacular end to the year with his club before wearing the Ireland World Cup Jersey in New Zealand later this year, was withdrawn as a precaution rather than through necessity, but admitted the injury to Leinster’s captain was a real concern ahead of the game against the Saints.
He said: “Brian came off with a knee problem that was uncomfortable rather than unplayable. We’ll have to see how it settles down over the weekend and then assess him, and the others, on Monday.”
“It’s not ideal because we want to have a good week of training ahead of the game against Saints.” He added.
Reports in the Irish press suggest it is an injury to the muscle behind the knee which would only require a few days’ rest, meaning the 32-year-old should be fit to play on Saturday.
Along with O’Driscoll, prop Mike Ross had to leave the field with a stinger injury to his left shoulder, while scrum-half Isaac Boss come off with a hamstring strain and hooker Richard Strauss was withdrawn with a bruised hip. Man of the Match Sean O’Brien also had to have four stitches in a cut above his left eye.
There is some concern surrounding Strauss and his readiness to play at the Millennium Stadium this weekend, and the South African will undergo tests along with O’Driscoll to determine his ability to take part in European rugby’s showpiece event.