O'Driscoll fitness boost for Ireland
December 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
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.
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers