Ireland’s Gordon D’Arcy is facing between two and three months on the sidelines after fracturing his arm during last Saturday’s Six Nations win. But Brian O’Driscoll, D’Arcy’s regular centre partner for both province and country, reckons the lay-off could see his good friend regain his best form.
Speaking at Tuesday’s team announcement press conference in Killiney, O’Driscoll revealed how disappointed he was for D’Arcy who sustained the injury when tackling Italian out-half Andrea Masi during the first half at Croke Park.
”Going into every Six Nations you have the realisation that you’re going to have injuries. You’re just hopeful that the knocks players pick up won’t finish their tournament,” the Ireland captain conceded.
”But, in Darce’s case, that isn’t how it’s panned out. He’s going to be gone for probably three months. It’s bitterly disappointing.
“He might not have been playing the best rugby of his life but he’s an invaluable player because he’s always capable of creating something from nothing. You want as many of those kind of players in your team as possible.
”And, obviously, he was hugely disappointed himself. To miss out on any international rugby is tough to take.
”A long lay-off is the worst part of being a professional rugby player. It’s just a case of trying to stay upbeat and stay fit. He’s studying at the moment so at least he has something to take his mind off things.
”And, in fairness to him, he still managed to drag Masi down with his one good arm so I think that says a lot about Darce as a guy.
”So, I’m devastated for him but we’ve all had lengthy lay-offs at some stage in our careers and it’s just something that you have to come to terms with, unfortunately, and I know that Darce will come back stronger than ever.”
D’Arcy’s replacement in the number 12 jersey for this weekend’s trip to Paris is Andrew Trimble, who swiftly slotted into midfield after the Wexford man’s outing against Italy was cut short.
O’Driscoll feels Trimble will have no problems operating at inside centre, a position he favours at Ulster and he also made his debut there – ironically alongside D’Arcy – in the November 2005 defeat to Australia.
”In international rugby, you aren’t afforded much of an introductory period. You have to get in there and start producing straight away when you form new partnerships,” O’Driscoll said.
”Training this week will be obviously hugely important to us, particularly from a defensive viewpoint.
“Attacking is one thing because a lot of the time it’s off the cuff but, defensively, it takes a lot of time to get to know one another’s game, knowing when you can leave a man to the other guy or knowing when to step in.
”I suppose that’s where I had a good relationship with Darce. There was an element of telepathy to it. But Trims is becoming a bit of a seasoned campaigner now. I don’t know exactly how many caps he has but he’s got a great strike-rate for Ireland,” he added.