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Back row blow: Sean O'Brien ruled out of Pro12 final clash with Ulster

Warren Gatland revealed that the openside’s knee is badly bruised, but Brian O’Driscoll is set to return this week.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER WILL BE without Sean O’Brien for this Saturday’s RaboDirect Pro12 Grand Final against Ulster in the RDS.

The Ireland and Lions back row sustained a bruised knee in Friday’s Amlin Challenge Cup final win over Stade Francais and though the province rated him at ’50/50′ in UCD today, Lions coach Warren Gatland has been told he will be out for a matter of weeks.

“Injuries are not too bad at the moment.” Gatland said as he fielded questions in this week’s base at Carton House.

“Sean O’Brien has had a bit of a knock to the knee on Friday he has come in today to be looked at by the medics. Hopefully he’s going to spend [all of] this week with us.”

Asked the extent of O’Brien’s knock, the Kiwi added: “A bit of swelling, a bit of bone-bruising by the account. They [Leinster’s medical team] are saying a couple of weeks maybe. We’re just hoping it is not longer than that.”

Coincidentally, and fortuitously, the Lions’ only other injury concern in the midst of a frantic final fortnight of the season is O’Brien’s Leinster and Ireland team-mate, Brian O’Driscoll.

The Lions captain of 2005 missed out on the Challenge Cup success after suffering a back spasm against Glasgow a week previous. However, he is expected to be fit when Ulster arrive in Dublin looking for their third win from three meetings with the eastern province this season.

Lucky

Gatland says: “Brian O’Driscoll is hoping to be playing this week. We’ve been quite lucky at the moment, managed not to pick up too many injuries.

“Fingers crossed the two finals [Premiership and Pro12] this week, guys can turn up on Sunday and fly out on Monday.”

Leinster’s medics have today also expressed hope that Richardt Strauss will shake off a shoulder injury for the final of the season which has today been declared a sell-out.

Pssst! Just between us, The Lions are in town

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Sean Farrell

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