BOD: I'm on target for return to action
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL is on target for a return to full fitness in time for the final stages of the Heineken Cup and Ireland's tour to New Zeland.
A visit to his surgeon in the next few weeks is likely to confirm that progress on the painful nerve injury in his shoulder is such that he can start making plans for an earlier return than expected.
"I knew I had the injury going into the World Cup. I'd been kind of carrying the injury for a couple of years," he said yesterday.
"I've worked hard over the last few months and hopefully, fingers crossed, I'll get to play some part with Leinster, and then Ireland," revealed the 33-year-old.
O'Driscoll (above) said his return to the green jersey should come "before the end of the year", but if he comes through a Leinster return safely, he would surely be on the plane to New Zealand for the summer's three Test series against the All Blacks.
He is confident that his Ireland team-mates will put the disappointment of a galling defeat by Wales behind them and beat Italy tomorrow.
"I think if we do control the game we can beat them by 10 to 15 points," he said.