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Leinster No8 Ireland’s only doubt

Guinness PRO12 Editor

1 Mar 2010

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip is Ireland’s only injury concern ahead of the fourth round of the Six Nations.

The in-form No8 sprained an ankle last weekend but he is expected to be fit for the mouthwatering clash with Wales in a fortnight’s time. 

Heaslip produced an outstanding display in the 20-16 win over England at Twickenham as he continues to add to his growing reputation as one of the best back-row forwards in world rugby.

Very little has been said about the extent of Heaslip’s injury but a statement from the Irish Rugby Football Union dispelled any fears that the 26-year-old, who played the full 80 minutes in the English capital, would be out of action for any length of time.

“It is not thought at this point that it will keep him out of consideration for selection for the Wales game,” read the statement following Ireland’s second win in three 2010 Six Nations games.

Fellow Leinster star Brian O’Driscoll was a serious injury doubt when he left the field after 64 minutes on Saturday afternoon but he too is expected to be available for selection for the clash with Wales.

The Ireland skipper was stretchered off after receiving a knee to the head in an accidental collision with team-mate Paul O’Connell.

But despite the initial concerns, O’Driscoll returned to the Twickenham pitch to join in with the celebrations at the end of a hard-fought victory. 

“Brian took bit of a bang,” said Ireland head coach Declan Kidney.

“It was nothing – he was out on the pitch at the end. He’s good and is enjoying the win as much as anyone. 

‘Brian just felt he should make Paul do the press conference to make up for him giving him a bang on the head with his knee! There’s no risk of concussion. He’s fine.” 

That’s good news for Leinster as well as Ireland as concussion could have ruled O’Driscoll out of the Magners League fixture with Glasgow on March 18 and even the game against Connacht on March 27. 

As for Ireland, the squad will get together for a two-day training camp starting this Wednesday, with the only absentee likely to be the only non-Magners League player in the side, Leicester’s Geordan Murphy.