The sight of Brian O’Driscoll, Shane Horgan and David Wallace training with the Ireland squad at UCD on Monday has given Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan a timely boost before the start of the World Cup. See below for some post-training quotes from the coach.
ON THE RECOVERIES OF BRIAN O’DRISCOLL AND SHANE HORGAN:
“We’ll need to get a medical call on Brian (O’Driscoll) playing on Sunday before we finally sign off on it, but at the moment he’s ahead of schedule (with his fractured sinus). It’s become 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 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.
“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.”
ON DAVID WALLACE’S RECOVERY FROM AN ANKLE INJURY:
“I wasn’t worried about David because for the last three weeks he could have trained or being involved more than he has been. But there was a risk in that, had he another setback in his ankle, he could have missed the start of the World Cup.
“I took the same approach with John Hayes four years ago when John picked up an injury not long before going to the Australian World Cup. I just made sure he got that right before we put him into the World Cup. And we just got John into the last World Cup basically by gradually easing him in.
“I’d the same thoughts about David. I didn’t want him to have a setback a week or two out and have to manage that. I felt the best thing was to allow him the best amount of time he needed. Even if it took until next week to be up and running, I wouldn’t have lost any sleep over it. I’m just glad he’s back.”
ON IRELAND’S FIRST TWO WORLD CUP GAMES AND TEAM SELECTION:
“I think the first two games are important particularly because of ourselves and France and Argentina being so close in the World rankings. There’s a chance that we’ll all beat each other and end up with one loss apiece and go down to points difference in the pool. It’s maybe not enough to win the first two matches – we have to win them well. And that’s a consideration so you have to factor that into your thinking maybe.
“I want to keep my powder dry on rotation between the first two games. It will depend on our form, on players. There are guys I want to play in the first game, like David Wallace who has been out for a long time – I want to get him into the first game and see how it goes. There is a number of factors to consider before we come to a decision.”