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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 15 July, 2020

Big boost for Ireland as O'Donnell winning England fitness race

Stomach illness forced the Munster flanker off against Glasgow Warriors on Friday night.

Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

IRISH FLANKER TOMMY O’Donnell is expected to recover in time to prepare to face England from a stomach illness which forced him to go off shortly after half-time in Munster’s clash with Glasgow Warriors on Friday night.

The 28-year old was one of a number of Munster players who suffered tummy bugs for the clash with the Pro12 champions at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock.

Munster went down 27-24 and coach Anthony Foley paid tribute to O’Donnell, who was to the fore, as they recovered from a disastrous start when they fell 14-0 down after just eight minutes to lead by three at the break.

“For him to get through to 45 minutes was exceptional. He was pretty ill before the game and he was pretty ill at half-time and for him to put in that effort was exceptional, especially with such a short turnaround,” said Foley.

O’Donnell, who returned for Munster in early January after he recovered from a hip dislocation suffered in a World Cup warm-up game against Wales in August, won his eleventh cap for Ireland against France last weekend.

Munster, who travel to play Treviso next weekend as they try to get their Champions Cup qualification hopes back on track, will have to wait to see if No 8 Robin Copeland, who went off after 20 minutes with a head injury, is available.

He will go through the head-injury assessment procedure but Foley is hopeful that the nine-day gap between matches will be helpful.

I thought he had a flying start to the game, so losing Robin was a blow. The nine days between matches will help with that so we will see how he is.

Foley said that it was a frustrating defeat having recovered from such a poor start, but yellow cards in the second-half to scrum-half Tomas O’Leary and replacement prop James Cronin had an impact.

“We thought we could come here and win and we thought it was in our make-up to get it done and to come so close and not get it is frustrating,” added Foley.

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John Fallon

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