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O’Driscoll Feeling Sharp Ahead Of Summer Tour

O’Driscoll Feeling Sharp Ahead Of Summer Tour

Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll believes his recent injury lay-off has done him the world of good and that he will be in prime condition for next month’s summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.

Saturday’s Magners League clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons was only Brian O’Driscoll’s second game back for Leinster after he tore a hamstring during Ireland’s Six Nations defeat to Wales in March.

But the centre had a decent influence on proceedings at the RDS as he set up a try for Shane Horgan, almost put Luke Fitzgerald through for one and he also had his own effort ruled out by the television match official during a satisying 80-minute run-out.

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This season has largely been a disappointing one for O’Driscoll by his own high standards, particularly with Ireland struggling in both the World Cup and Six Nations and Leinster failing to reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

The light at the end of the tunnel is a second Magners League title for the province and a rejuvenated O’Driscoll got the chance to raise the trophy aloft after his side’s impressive 41-8 defeat of the Dragons.

Speaking in the aftermath of Leinster’s tenth straight home win, he said: “I’m feeling a lot sharper. I lost a few pounds (while I was out with the injury), a few pounds that I probably needed to lose and it’s been great. I’ve got a hunger for the game again.

“Maybe I needed the six-week break. It’s been a long season – a little bit frustrating at times – but that injury lay-off certainly got my mind focused and my body sorted.

“I’ve enjoyed going to training over the past few weeks and I’ve enjoyed the freshness I’ve been feeling.”

With a second league winners’ medal in his back pocket, O’Driscoll is determined to reach peak form in the coming weeks and Ireland will need him back to his best as they face two tough encounters with the All Blacks (June 7) and the Wallabies (June 14).

?I think a lot of this game is about your mental approach. Physically, we should be in good condition nearly all of the time, but, from a mental point of view, sometimes things can get on top of you.

“Sometimes you need a break away from your game – to take a step back and reassess things – and you get your hunger back again.

“I’ve had a bit of a stop-start year and I want to finish it on a high. I want to play well in these last few games (for Leinster) and hopefully have a successful summer tour with Ireland.”

Although the season has been one to forget for the national side, the consistent performances of Leinster in the Magners League and Munster in the Heineken Cup have greatly encouraged players and fans alike.

O’Driscoll added: “It’s fantastic, from a Leinster point of view and from my own point of view, that we’ve had something to play for at the end of the season and we’ve gone and won the Magners League.”