Sean O’Brien is looking forward to reaping the rewards of training harder than ever before when London Irish resume their English Premiership season this weekend.
The former Leinster back-rower missed what would have been his Ireland swansong at the World Cup due to a serious hip injury, which required hip resurfacing surgery.
O’Brien returned from 10 months of rehabilitation just before the Covid-19 lockdown and was restricted to just one appearance for his new club, led by his former Test coaches, director of rugby Declan Kidney and head coach Les Kiss.
O’Brien, 33, is understandably raring to go after a five-month break in his debut season having been unable to build on his 49-minute debut at Sale Sharks on March 6. With London Irish restarting their Gallagher Premiership campaign at Bath on Saturday, the nine remaining matches are condensed into a six-week period.
“It’s hugely exciting. I’ve put in a lot of work over the last few months and I think we’ve improved a lot as a side and hopefully, we can put a lot of what we’ve done in the last couple of months into this weekend,” O’Brien said on Wednesday during a Zoom call with the media.
"I'm looking forward it. I've gotten through the most training I've ever done in my career, which has been brilliant.
"So I've a really, really good base, a big pre-season into me, and always in the past when I've had a good pre-season, I’ve had a really, really good run and a really good year of rugby.
"I know it's going to be a big challenge as well, it will be a pretty challenging six-to-eight weeks, but it will be managed by the coaches with squad rotation.
"Really looking forward to trying to be involved as much as I can."