IRELAND CENTRES BRIAN O’DRISCOLL and Luke Marshall are fitness doubts, due to concussion concerns, ahead of the Six Nations finale against Italy on Saturday.
O’Driscoll, although he returned to the fray, and Marshall were both assisted from the field of play against the French at the weekend. Neither player has been ruled out yet and will be assessed under IRB protocols before a decision is made.
Irish backs coach Les Kiss called O’Driscoll a “warrior” and remarked that he was asking for trouble by twice standing the the way of charging France prop Vincent Debaty.
The country’s top try-scorer also has a dead leg to recover from and had eight stitches to an ear laceration.
Ireland team manager Mick Kearney delivered a squad update at Carton House this afternoon and had a lengthy injury list to get through.
Irish rugby supporters were already aware of the absences of Eoin Reddan, who fractured his leg in the 13-13 draw with France. Fergus McFadden [broken rib] was ruled out of the Italy clash earlier today.
After four games in the Six Nations, Ireland have lost Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton, Gordon D’Arcy, Craig Gilroy, Reddan and McFadden to injury. Paul O’Connell, Tommy Bowe and Stephen Ferris failed to make the starting blocks.
Speaking after Ireland’s draw on Saturday, head coach Declan Kidney told TheScore.ie, “We took a conscious decision that we wouldn’t crib about things about the situation that we have for a few reasons.
“Others are worse off than we are and it’s an insult to the lads coming in making a huge go. That is why we are frustrated. There are lads coming in who have no experience at this level under their belt and they are doing such a good job for us.
Part of that is caused by injuries but yet if you look at any given day, Paul, Fez, Tommy, Jonathan would probably be in the running for at least a Lions spot if nothing else.
“We wouldn’t come and complain about it but it is a fact of life. You just work your way through it.”
Additional players called up to the training squad this week include, Declan Fitzpatrick, Devin Toner, Robbie Diack, Tommy O’Donnell, Paul Marshall, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble and Rob Henshaw.
The team announcement for the match in Rome will now take place on Thursday, rather than tomorrow afternoon.