IRELAND OUTSIDE CENTRE Brian O’Driscoll was a notable absence from Ireland’s training session at Carton House today. Irish assistant coach Les Kiss confirmed to TheScore.ie that the country’s most capped player is suffering from a “bug” and sat out the session in Maynooth this morning.
Kiss insisted that O’Driscoll should be improved by the time Ireland next train. Wednesday is a down day so the Leinster man will have to prove he is back to his best in Thursday’s training session, which finishes up 90 minutes before Joe Schmidt names his team to play England.
Kiss said, “Brian didn’t run today. He has a slight bit of a bug… we’re just managing it. He’ll be fine for Thursday. I don’t know if you’d call it a stomach bug but he’s not feeling the best, let’s put it like that.”
The Ireland defence coach, who also admitted to being ill, had better news on the fitness and injury front for the remainder of the 33-man squad. Isaac Boss — concussed last Friday against Dragons — is ‘flying through’ his return to play protocols and Paul O’Connell is back to full fitness after the start of his championship was affected by a chest infection.
O’Connell’s Munster pack-mate Donnacha Ryan has impressed Kiss with his energy and enthusiasm since returning to the international set-up. “It is great to see Donnacha back and I know it has been a real plus to have him here. He came in and trained the house down,” said Kiss.
[The second row] is something we have to consider. After losing Dan Tuohy to injury last week we have to look at what our stocks are. It’s timely for Donnacha to come back into the fray.”
Ryan’s return from a niggling leg injury means he has to rapidly get himself up to speed with plays, calls and tactics. “The plus is,” said Kiss, “is that he gets to work with Paul [O'Connell] a lot in terms of the line-out. A lot of the calls and systems are not too far removed from [our] type. There will be that transfer of knowledge about the new attack and defence systems that Joe has implemented. He has to get his head around a few of those things but Donnacha’s a smart boy.”
Kiss made mention to selection calls and positional discussions being made ‘as the day goes on’ today and this evening. It would appear that the Irish management team are very close to settling on their starting XV. O’Driscoll’s name will be pencilled in at 13 but Schmidt will be hoping to avoid any repeat of the early morning call that Paul O’Connell made ahead of the Scotland clash.