O'Driscoll fit for Heineken Cup final
May 19, 2011
Leinster are hopeful that Brian O'Driscoll will be fit to play © Getty Images
Leinster captain Brian O'Driscoll will line up in the Heineken Cup final against Northampton at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday after overcoming a knee injury.
The 33-year-old was named in the Leinster starting XV on Friday after proving his fitness ahead of the clash with the Saints. The Ireland international returned to training on Thursday morning, having been replaced at half-time in last weekend's Magners League play-off victory over Ulster due to a knee injury.
Leinster boss Joe Schmidt confirmed after the session on Thursday that O'Driscoll had been at "three quarters pace", but hoped that Friday would see his talisman back to full fitness and ready to go.
"We're pretty confident that by tomorrow he'll be able to stretch out and be able to fully accelerate," Schmidt said. "We're pretty positive, hopefully he'll be fully fit and available for selection."
And Schmidt has been proved right with O'Driscoll taking his place alongside Gordon D'Arcy and Jonathon Sexton in the Leinster midfield. Hooker Richardt Strauss has also been passed fit to start after coming back from a bruised hip while Leo Cullen leads the side which is unchanged from Leinster's semi-final defeat of Toulouse.
The Saints have suffered injury problems of their own, with influential England flanker Tom Wood ruled out after failing to recover from a hairline leg fracture sustained against Gloucester on April 19.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene