The news that a fractured sinus will only keep Brian O’Driscoll out of Ireland’s opening World Cup game against Namibia was warmly received by his team-mates, as Geordan Murphy explains.
There were initial fears that O’Driscoll may have fractured a cheekbone after being punched by Bayonne lock Mikaera Tewhata during last Thursday’s 42-6 friendly win for Ireland in the south of France.
But those fears were allayed on Friday morning when it was confirmed that the Ireland captain had fractured his sinus and suffered a deep laceration under his right eye.
A three-to-four week lay-off means O’Driscoll will sit out Ireland’s September 9 clash with Namibia, but he should return to play a full part in the rest of the tournament – a thought that has greatly encouraged Murphy and company.
“There was a sense of concern after the game when everyone heard of Brian’s injury. After all, he is the best centre in the world and a great asset to the Ireland team,” admitted Murphy.
“It was great news to hear afterward that the injury was not as bad as first feared. Everyone was pleased for him as he is a great guy to have around. He is a great character to have around the squad and everyone was really pleased for him that he is going to be back on the world stage pretty soon.”
Murphy was sprung from the bench to replace the stricken O’Driscoll an hour into last Thursday’s friendly and will remember the visit to Stade Jean Dauger for the positives Ireland gleamed from it.
“I think everyone was pleased that we scored some tries and got a win in Bayonne. It was a very tough game. We were pleased by the way we had to dog it out.
“The way the game panned out, it was a little bit stop-start. but it was a good run-out for us and we needed it badly.”
The Leicester Tigers star will be hoping to get some more pitch-time at Ravenhill on Friday as Ireland entertain Italy in their final outing before the start of the World Cup.
Pleased with his progress in recent weeks, which included an eye-catching display from full-back against Scotland, Murphy added: “I’m eager to get a few runs in the World Cup. I’m really glad to be there. The Scottish game was really difficult for me. I was fairly nervous knowing what happened four years ago (when I broke my leg) and obviously the bit of pressure with the World Cup squad…I was glad to get away with both legs intact!
“Friday’s game will be a very competitive affair. I know a couple of the Italian boys and I think they are looking forward to coming over here. It is their last run-out pre-World Cup as well, so guys have an opportunity of playing for spots in the first team and I think it will be a full-on international.”