Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Brian O'Driscoll believes successor is in Leinster's ranks

TV pundit Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll has rubbished the notion that Leinster must look for an overseas player to fill the void that he will leave behind at the end of the season.

The 35-year-old believes that the province has more than enough quality to replace him as he calls time on his glittering 15-year career.

Luke Fitzgerald has long been touted as a replacement at outside centre but his recurring injury problems have put a dent in his hopes.

Nevertheless, O'Driscoll is confident in the resources that are available to Leinster.

"I think we have the capabilities here," he said confidently.

"We're in a position that throughout the season, there always seems to have been one back injured and as a result we haven't had to make too many really hard calls of having to leave very special players out of the 23.

"Zane (Kirchner) has played 13 for South Africa and Lukey (Fitzgerald) is still to come back into fold properly. Ferg (McFadden) can play at 13 and D'Arce (Gordon D'Arcy) can play there. Young lads like Macken (Brendan) have done well there.

"There is absolutely scope for working from within and completely dealing with that so I don't think there's any necessity to go outside."

As he prepares to enter the closing stages of his career, O'Driscoll admitted that his decision to retire was made all the more comforting given what happened in Paris earlier this year.

"I have total contentment on having made it (the decision to retire), and I know it's the right call, all the more to be able to finish the way we did in Paris.

"That makes it easier to walk away. But that doesn't mean it won't be hard watching the guys in the World Cup in 18 months' time, because that'll be tough.

"A little part of you will always wonder 'could I have gotten there?', but it's very hard to argue with the finish we managed a couple of months back.

"I'll have to just deal with that rather than concern myself with what else could have been. I won't get selfish at this point."

Meanwhile, England centre Billy Twelvetrees suffered ankle damage in Gloucester's 38-30 Aviva Premiership victory over London Irish on Saturday.

England had hoped to have the 24-year-old available for the first Test against the All Blacks in Auckland on June 7.

Gloucester boss Davies confirmed former Leicester centre Twelvetrees does not need surgery but may now not be fit in time for either England's first or second Tests next month.

"It looks like an injury that will be between four to six weeks before it's right, so not great for him, obviously, Billy having had such a good season overall," said Davies.

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