Brian O’Driscoll will undergo extensive testing today to determine the extent of a knee injury amid fears he could miss Ireland’s autumn Test series.
O’Driscoll delivered a sensational display in front of Lions coach Ian McGeechan, scoring two tries in the first half of Leinster’s stunning 41-11 rout of English champions Wasps at the RDS on Saturday night.
But the Ireland captain did not reappear for the second half having sustained a heavy knock on his knee. He is understood to have suffered ligament damage but Leinster coach Michael Cheika afterwards gave hope that it is not too serious by the fact that O’Driscoll was able to play on after the knock.
O’Driscoll’s Leinster team-mate Leo Cullen is definitely out of the November Tests against Canada, New Zealand and Argentina with a broken collar bone while Gordon D’Arcy faces yet another operation on the forearm he broke during the Six Nations clash against Italy in March.
That is expected to rule him out until at least the spring, amid fears that the injury could be career-threatening.
It will not only be Kidney and Cheika who will be sweating on O’Driscoll’s fitness. McGeechan is due in Dublin on Wednesday to announce his coaching team for next summer’s Lions tour.
And given the expected lack of current Irish representation in the line-up, which will feature Warren Gatland, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley, one theory is that O’Driscoll has been lined up to captain the side again as he did in New Zealand in 2005 before suffering a dislocated shoulder in the first minute of the first Test in Christchurch.
While Ulster’s Heineken Cup campaign is effectively over after Harlequins’ 42-21 victory at the Stoop on Saturday, both Leinster and Munster, who defeated Sale 24-16 yesterday, are in pole position to make the quarter-finals.