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Doubts Remain Over O’Driscoll and Stringer

9th February 2007 By Munster Rugby

Doubts Remain Over O’Driscoll and Stringer

Brian O’Driscoll appears to be the main concern ahead of Ireland’s RBS Six Nations game against France at Croke Park on Sunday with Peter Stringer also struggling to make the historic clash.

Peter Stringer suffered a hairline break to a metacarpal in his right hand but it’s captain O’Driscoll who looks to be most at risk of missing the game with his teammate Ronan O’Gara quoted today saying, ” I don’t know what the medical opinion is but I’d say it’s unlikely he will play. But we don’t want to see him until Sunday at three o’clock. If he doesn’t do anything between now and then it doesn’t bother me.”
srupted by injury prompting the millionaire national coach to question the severity of the French season.

If O’Driscoll is ruled out then Shane Horgan will move into the centre and Geordan Murphy come onto the wing, Paul O’Connell will captain the side. Should Stringer not make it then Isaac Boss will partner O’Gara and Eoin Reddan will be added to the replacements.

Meanwhile, French coach Bernard Laporte has had his training disrupted this week by “injury and fatigue.”

“We must stop exhausting them or those young men will turn into ugly old men,” he told journalists yesterday at the French training centre in Marcoussis – nicknamed ‘Marcatraz’ by some of the players.

Laporte has assembled a 40 strong squad at Marcoussis, 22 of those preparing for the weekend’s game and the other 18 on a fitness schedule. However, according to Laporte, only 8 of the 18 were fit to train while yesterday was the first day this week that all 22 of Sunday’s squad were on the training pitch.

“I’m a bit puzzled,” Laporte said, ” because when you only have at your disposal 22 players selected because they are fit you don’t assess the extent of the problem.
“But when you see in a 40-player squad the number of players who can’t train and, among the players who can, how many have knocks, you understand that we should stop forcing them to play so many games during a season.”

Two of Laporte’s  forty strong squad,, Dimitri Szarzewski and Benjamin Boyet, have been ruled out of the entire Six Nations with long-term injuries requiring operations.
Thomas Castaignède, Damien Traille, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Elvis Vermeulen, Yannick Nyanga and Thierry Dusautoir are all unavailable for the opening two Six Nations matches, and fly-half Frédéric Michalak and team captain, lock Fabien Pelous are also sidelined for the tournament.


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