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Dublin: 10°C Friday 30 October 2020
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Return of the kings: BOD and Cullen will play for Leinster on Friday

Leinster skills coach Richie Murphy has revealed that Brian O’Driscoll will play some part in this Friday’s RaboDirect Pr012 meeting with the Ospreys.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER SKILLS COACH, Richie Murphy, has confirmed today that Brian O’Driscoll will make a long-awaited return from injury this week.

The Irish captain has been out of action since undergoing surgery on his shoulder after Ireland’s World Cup exit.

Now, just five months after that surgery he is ready to make his return before Leinster resume their defence of the Heineken Cup.

With Munster on the horizon next weekend ahead of the European quarter final, this is arguably the lowest intensity game the province will face in the near future. So it was going to be vital to get the centre some game time before jumping in at the deep end.

“He’ll definitely be involved at the weekend,” said Murphy.”He came through today fine, he came through Monday really well. The conditioning coaches are really happy with where he’s at – the physios and so on – and at this stage he’ll definitely be involved on Friday.”

It would be strange to see O’Driscoll wear anything but the number 13 jersey but is yet to be decided whether the record try-scorer will be introduced from the bench or be given a chance to start.

If he is named in the startling line-up, his midfield partner is likely to be Fergus McFadden as fringe members of Declan Kidney’s squad will be considered for selection while those who started in Twickenham will be given an overdue rest.

“Some of the Irish players will be feeding back in between today and tomorrow, Fergus came back in today and he is going to be involved aswell. None of the starting players from Saturday will be involved this weekend.”

“Most of the fringe players will be coming back in tomorrow. We’ll see how they turn up. If they are in good condition then they’ll be involved in some way, probably off the bench.”

Revamped

Leinster will feel like a squad fully revamped. On top of the return of their Six Nations contingent and O’Driscoll, they can also bring back in their captain, Leo Cullen.

The lock underwent surgery on his Achilles before the Six Nations, but is likely to partner new signing, Brad Thorn, in the second row.

“Leo came through training and has done everything that has been asked of him so he is likely to be involved on Friday night aswell.”

Murphy would not be drawn on whether Thorn would start the game (preferring to wait for tomorrow’s official team announcement) but did compliment the experience which the World Cup winning All Black brings to the group,

“Brad is settling well – from our point of view we’re happy with how he’s been going he has been a real addition to the squad, all the younger players are definitely learning from him.”

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Sean Farrell

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