Ireland hope for O’Driscoll return

Coach Eddie O'Sullivan is "hopeful" captain Brian O'Driscoll can recover in time to play some part in Ireland's autumn Test series. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Coach Eddie O’Sullivan is "hopeful" captain Brian O’Driscoll can recover in time to play some part in Ireland’s autumn Test series.

New Zealand, Australia and Romania will visit Lansdowne Road over three gruelling weeks in November, and any participation on O’Driscoll’s part will be a bonus.

The talismanic centre, who dislocated his right shoulder in the first Test of the British & Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand, was released from hospital on July 17 following a recovery operation.

Now on a 10-day holiday abroad, the 26-year-old will begin a rehabilitation programme when he returns.

O’Sullivan said: "Brian has had the staples removed after the operation. It’s very early days to make a decision (on his fitness), but I remain hopeful that he will be able to participate in the autumn series."

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Meanwhile, O’Driscoll’s Leinster colleagues Malcolm O’Kelly and Gordon D’Arcy have had minor operations to correct their respective injuries.

Lock O’Kelly’s Lions tour was ended before the opening match against Bay of Plenty due to a groin muscle injury, while centre D’Arcy, who ruled himself out of the third Test against the All Blacks due to general fatigue, has a shoulder knock to shake off ahead of September’s Celtic League start.

O’Sullivan’s plans for Ireland’s season opener against the All Blacks on November 12 will definitely included both O’Kelly and D’Arcy.

"I would expect the two of them to be ready sometime in September," he added.

"Everyone else is fit, which is just as well given the difficult programme we have. We will have 11 Tests next season.

"Besides coming up against New Zealand and Australia, we face England and France away in the Six Nations. Throw in our summer tour games against Australia and New Zealand (twice) and you will really appreciate that it is going to be a very tough year.

"At the same time, it will be a good year in terms of developing for the next World Cup."

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