INPHO/James Crombie O'Driscoll: struggling with a calf injury.
# Losing Battle
O'Driscoll 'unlikely' to feature against Ospreys
Brendan Macken is primed for his first Heineken Cup start on Saturday evening.

Originally published 13.29

BRENDAN MACKEN IS set to make his Heineken Cup debut in place of the injured Brian O’Driscoll.

O’Driscoll has been struggling with a calf injury and forwards coach Jono Gibbes conceded that he is “unlikely” to be fit in time for Saturday’s opener against the Ospreys.

“A guy like that we’ll give him as much time as we possible,” Gibbes said at today’s press briefing in UCD.

“I just think, with his involvement at the start of the week (he did some light drills) I would say he is unlikely at this stage.”

Asked whether it was too much of a risk to put O’Driscoll into action with a question over his fitness, the Kiwi responded:

“Yeah, plus he’s experienced. He knows where he’s at. We’re going to leave the door open for him. He’s a pretty good judge of where he needs to be for a game like this.

“Listen, if you can’t do a warm-up it’s a bit of a no-brainer. As I said, he knows where he needs to be and we’ll go through that process tomorrow with him.”

The starting XV won’t be confirmed until tomorrow afternoon but sitting along side Gibbes, Jamie Heaslip appeared to let slip that academy product Macken had already been be called upon to fill the number 13 jersey.

“For some guys this is a massive opportunity,” said the number eight. “Like, I was talking to Brendan, it’s his first start in the Heineken Cup and he can’t wait.”

Macken, 22, has already started three of Leinster’s five games this season including an impressive outing in the 29 -29 draw with the Ospreys at the RDS.

Updated 15.00

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