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Six Nations
O'Driscoll fitness boost for Ireland
ESPN Staff
December 29, 2012
Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll takes the attack to Clermont Auvergne, Clermont Auvergne v Leinster, Heineken Cup, Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France, April 29, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll has battled back from ankle surgery and is set to return to PRO12 action in the near future © Getty Images
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Ireland have received a timely boost ahead of the forthcoming Six Nations with the news that talismanic captain Brian O'Driscoll is set for an earlier-than-expected return from injury.

The 33-year-old centre has been sidelined since picking up an ankle ligament injury in October with subsequent surgery ruling him out of the autumn internationals and jeopardising his Six Nations chances. However, he was back training with Leinster earlier this month and is now on course to make a surprise return to PRO12 action with the trip to Edinburgh on January 4.

The news will come as a huge boost to Ireland coach Declan Kidney, whose squad have just completed a two-day camp, with winger Tommy Bowe, flanker Stephen Ferris and lock Paul O'Connell all set to miss this year's battle for northern hemisphere supremacy.

Leinster boss Joe Schmidt has also revealed that fellow internationals Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald are also in line for a return to domestic matters. "We'd be confident of Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald getting back for Edinburgh," said Schmidt.

Only a week ago, O'Driscoll played down his chances of being fit for the Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on February 2, saying: "I'm due to come back and play towards the end of January. I'm hoping to be back before that, but I don't know."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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