He may have signed a new one-year deal this morning, but Brian O’Driscoll has been ruled out of the Amlin Challenge Cup final between Leinster and Stade Francais in Dublin tomorrow night.
O’Driscoll, part of a 37-man British and Irish Lions squad for the forthcoming tour to Hong Kong and Australia, suffered a back spasm during Leinster’s RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Glasgow last weekend.
He did not report for the Lions’ initial gathering in London three days ago, yet Leinster were hopeful he would recover in time to face Stade.
But O’Driscoll, whose new contract with the IRFU was announced earlier, has lost his fitness race, with Fergus McFadden and Ian Madigan forging Leinster’s midfield partnership.
Four other Leinster Lions – full-back Rob Kearney, fly-half Jonathan Sexton, flanker Sean O’Brien and number eight Jamie Heaslip – all start against Stade, while prop Cian Healy is on the bench.
Lock Leo Cullen is also among the replacements, with Heaslip captaining the team.