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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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'There is an edge to Sean in everything he does': Leinster excited to have O'Brien back in harness

The Carlow man has been sidelined for five months after picking up a shoulder injury in a home loss to Benetton.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER ARE APPROACHING the opening set of inter-pros with a spring in their step thanks in part to the return of Sean O’Brien after five months out.

The 31-year-old missed the majority of last season, sidelined with hip and shoulder injuries, but after a long pre-season the Lions back row will be expected to be at full tilt when Leo Cullen’s charges train today.

“He’s back. He trained last week twice and, in the Thursday session, he did a nice bit of contact,” said scrum coach John Fogarty ahead of what would be a relatively light Monday training session in UCD.

“Chomping at the bit is Sean O’Brien at the moment.

“He is back in the programme fully. He’s going to train today (Monday) in a light session and tomorrow (Tuesday) is full on which he’s looking forward to.

“He’s back and he’s good and the medics are happy. The only thing is, he’s five months out and they will be watching like hawks over the week.”

“He’s fine. We’ve just got to be mindful of him returning. That’s all. But look, he’s back. He’s going to be training hard.”

Sean O'Brien, John Fogarty and head coach Leo Cullen celebrate Fogarty greets O'Brien after the Pro14 final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A fit and well O’Brien clearly has positive implications for Ireland, with the World Cup, Six Nations and the All Blacks dominating the medium term landscape.

For Leinster, having O’Brien back in harness is a positive even in the very short term as they prepare to go to Galway with April’s 47-10 trouncing still very fresh in the memory.

“He’s a huge addition even in meetings. He adds such value.

“Sean is a little bit different. There is an edge to Sean in everything he does. There’s times when we lacked that. We definitely lacked that last year against Ospreys away, against Treviso at home (though O’Brien played the first half), against Connacht away… we lacked edge, this intangible thing that Sean can bring. He is a very valuable player.

“Let’s hope he gets back on his feet.”

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Sean Farrell

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