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Sunday 22 April 2018

O'Driscoll: I'm pretty positive

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL has insisted: "In my head, there isn't a doubt" about playing with a calf tightness against New Zealand on Sunday.

"I would be pretty positive. I have been a bit unfortunate this year that I just have had a few niggly things," he said.

"I could feel it at the weekend a bit but I was able to see out the game. There are lots of times I have played not at 100 per cent fitness.

"But, all going well, you know, if I handle the week well then I shouldn't be far off being at 100 per cent come the weekend."

That was after Ireland team manager Mick Kearney revealed O'Driscoll has joined Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney (pictured) as injury doubts for New Zealand.

Sadly, Fergus McFadden will be out for a number of weeks with a fractured bone in his right hand in what is a huge blow for one of Ireland's better players in the last two weeks.

"Rob suffered a blow to the ribs and has a subluxed costal cartilage. It was very painful at the time. It is improving well, but still is reasonably sore. He won't train for the early part of the week," said Kearney.

 

Extras

To this end, Ulster centre Darren Cave and Munster full-back Felix Jones have been called into the Ireland squad to join last week's extras Shane Jennings, Donncha O'Callaghan, Andrew Trimble and Luke Fitzgerald.

"Jonny Sexton pulled up with a suspected hamstring strain.

"He had a scan on Saturday night and the results were less worrying than we had initially feared.

"He has already begun intensive rehabilitation and, just like Rob, will be monitored on a daily basis," said Kearney.

"In terms of his chances for Sunday, the only thing I can say at this stage is that he hasn't been ruled out."

It is difficult to believe Sexton could somehow overcome the hamstring injury that forced him not to return to the field after half-time against Australia.

The mere fact that he has not been ruled out could be put down to Irish shenanigans or, as has been rumoured, that Sexton and the medical staff were pleasantly surprised at the limited damage done.

He is thought to have suffered a strain, not a tear, which gives him an outside chance of confounding all predictions.

Even at that, he is unlikely to take part in training, not exactly what coach Joe Schmidt would have wanted given his usual insistence that starters train on the Wednesday before a Sunday match.

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