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Saturday 16 December 2017

Sean O'Brien is open to playing against Italy in Rome

Sean O'Brien
Sean O'Brien

Joe Schmidt has a decision to make, many of them in fact.

This one revolves around whether the Ireland coach should parachute Sean O'Brien straight back in over the heads of Jordi Murphy, Dominic Ryan and the versatile Peter O'Mahony to play against Italy in Rome.

The Leinster openside refused to close the book on the matter. He is a player. He wants to play. Simple.

"It is still an open question," he said O'Brien.

The Irish Wolfhounds sagged to an underwhelming defeat against English Saxons in Cork on Friday, O'Brien going down with the ship.

There was an open-ended command for individuals to push their cases for the Six Nations by playing to the game plan.

"There was nothing said to any of us about it as far as I'm aware. It was an opportunity, I suppose, for everyone to put their hand up.

"Not winning the game hasn't stood to us that well. We can take some positives from it and move on."

The Tullow tearaway can take away more than most after sitting out all but one match in the last 14 months due to two shoulder operations.

"I was very rusty, to be honest," he said.

"It was very disappointing we lost the game too, not the ideal start back. It is good to be back all the same and to get back out there playing.

"After about 20 minutes, I blew up. The pace of the game was very fast. I felt good for the first twenty, but, after that, I was struggling to be honest."

On deeper investigation, O'Brien coped well in that first quarter. He completed three turnovers at the breakdown, broke the gain line twice, and made four tackles, missed none.

The 27 year-old has never been one to blow his own trumpet. He likes to let his actions to the talking.

"I have been out now a long time. Any game time is good game time," he said.

"It was good to get through a bit of work and I'm glad that there were no hiccups, or soreness or anything like that.

"I will have a bit more confidence now and I can kick-on, hopefully.

"We'll see where we go from here over the next week or two and, hopefully, get more game time."

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