O’Connell has been sidelined since March due to complications arising from a groin injury sustained on Six Nations duty. However, the province’s manager Shaun Payne yesterday reported the skipper’s recovery process is on target. He said: “Paul is starting to do a bit of running in the gym and things are looking good. I get asked every week when he will be back, and I’ll answer that by saying things are going extremely well at the minute. Without giving dates or anything, the news seems to be quite good.”
However, Payne admitted Jerry Flannery’s recent injury set back is more complex as medical experts continue to assess his troublesome calf problem.
“It’s not just a straight-forward injury unfortunately. It’s not a definitive calf tear or a broken arm or something like that; it’s an injury that comes and goes. It seems to be related to a neurological problem, whether it be a trapped nerve or whatever. You can’t tell, hence we can’t put a time period on it. We’re taking it week by week to see how it reacts, and getting the best advice.”