Having reassembled after a rest weekend, the Ireland squad were back in training on Monday afternoon at the Belfield Bowl, the home of UCD RFC. See below for a photo gallery link.
Spirits were lifted in the Ireland camp by the sight of the squad’s three main injury worries – team captain Brian O’Driscoll, winger Shane Horgan and flanker David Wallace – taking part in Monday’s training stint at Belfield.
O’Driscoll’s return to the international stage could come quicker than expected as, showing no ill-effects of the fractured sinus he sustained against Bayonne last month, the Leinster centre took a full part in training and could even come into contention for Ireland’s opening World Cup tie against Namibia.
“We’ll need to get a medical call on Brian playing on Sunday before we finally sign off on it,” admitted Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan.
“But at the moment he’s ahead of schedule. It becomes a possibility more than anything else. Brian being back this early is a huge boost. His injury could have been a lot worse but it wasn’t.
“Once we got the good news that he was going to be out for just a few weeks, it was just about trying to beat that deadline then.
“And to be fair, he’s worked very hard on his fitness and on his rugby without going into contact. But I think we’re getting very close to getting the all clear now. It’s really down to the medics,” he added.
“It’s the healing process. Same with Shane (Horgan)…he has worked very hard as well. He’s a good healer. I was quite confident both of them would be in good nick at this stage.”
To view photos from Monday’s Ireland training session at Belfield, please click here.