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O'Driscoll to miss Ireland's Cup opener

17/08/2007 05:01:42 PM Comments (0)

Captain Brian O'Driscoll is set to miss Ireland's opening match of the World Cup next month after suffering a fractured sinus during a warm-up match in France, the Irish Rugby Union said on Friday.

The 28-year-old centre was taken to hospital for X-rays with a suspected broken right cheekbone after receiving a punch an hour into the 42-6 victory over Bayonne on Thursday, but medical staff said the injury was not as bad as first feared.

"Following an X-ray and scan of Brian O'Driscoll's injury, it has been confirmed that he has sustained a fracture to his sinus and a deep laceration under his right eye," the Irish Rugby Union said in a statement.

"This is not as serious as initially feared and the injury will not require any surgery.

"The recovery period for the injury is three to four weeks which will rule O'Driscoll out of the warm-up game against Italy next week and the first Rugby World Cup pool game against Namibia."

Denis Hickie scored three tries and Paul O'Connell two in the bad-tempered match in which five yellow cards were dished out.

Flanker Denis Leamy and flyhalf Paddy Wallace also picked up minor injuries but the Irish camp was most concerned about former Lions captain O'Driscoll.

"Bar Brian's injury, it was a worthwhile exercise," coach Eddie O'Sullivan said.

"It'll be overshadowed if Brian got injured.

"It was a punch thrown, so you can't legislate for that.

Anyone can throw a punch anytime. It could be serious if it is fractured, it would be a pity."

Ireland have been drawn in Pool D at the September 7-October 20 tournament, with hosts France, Argentina, Georgia and Namibia.

They open their campaign against Namibia in Bordeaux on September 9.

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