12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
The Ireland captain gave an insight into what squad life is like under new coach Declan Kidney, explaining that with a number of new specialist coaches also on board, getting used to the new calls and plays requires some 'extra homework.'
"It's been great. There's been a certain amount of work done on the pitch but plenty of it to be done off it.
"At times, it feels like going back to school a bit - you've to study your notes, know plays, new calling systems and what not.
"But that's part and parcel of a new management coming in and new ideas coming to the fore. I'm sure we'll adapt appropriately and get up to speed."
He added: "When you come into national camp, it certainly takes a day or two to shelve your provincial calls and switch back into the international set-up.
"Obviously with new calls coming in - with this being the first week of it - we're learning from scratch. It's something that I think won't be overly difficult for us to adapt to."
O'Driscoll agreed that with a number of younger players pressing their Test claims during the opening weeks of the provincial season, the Irish management will have a very competitive squad at their disposal when they narrow it down to 30 players on Friday.
"I suppose it's a nice headache for Declan to have. It's great to have plenty of competition in all places.
"There's certain players putting their hands up, particularly some young guys that have had huge performances for their provinces.
"That keeps the more experienced guys on their toes that little bit more and makes them push themselves harder at training and make sure that they're getting the best out of themselves.
"It's where we want to be at and all the best sides in the world, the likes of the New Zealands and Australias.
"The more players of an international standard that are available, the harder the decisions are for the coach but it also means the better the international team you get in the end."
And while entertaining Canada at Thomond Park Stadium on Saturday week is an enticing prospect, O'Driscoll could not hide his enthusiasm when he was asked about the challenge of beating New Zealand at Croke Park on November 15.
"Everytime you play against the All Blacks, it's a big opportunity. More often than not, they're the best team in the world and whether you get them at home or away, it's always going to be an incredibly tough game.
"Bringing them to Croke Park will be a fantastic experience, I'm sure. Hopefully it will be something similar to the English game (from 2007), atmosphere wise.
"Knowing that such a great side are coming to play at the home of Irish sport really. It's a very exciting prospect but it's still a couple of weeks away and we won't concern ourselves just yet about it."