DUBLIN - Ireland delayed their team announcement for Sunday's clash with Italy by 48 hours as they struggle with an injury crisis that threatens to rob champion centre Brian O'Driscoll of a potential Six Nations farewell.
O'Driscoll suffered concussion, a lacerated ear and a dead leg in the 13-13 draw with France over the weekend and the veteran is facing a race against time to appear in what could be his last Six Nations match.
The 34-year-old's current contract with the Irish Rugby Union expires later this year and he has hinted he may opt to retire soon.
Ireland, who had been due to reveal their starting line-up today, will now name their team for the Stadio Olimpico clash on Friday.
"I asked Brian why he wanted to tackle Vincent Debaty twice — I thought he had more smarts than that," assistant coach Les Kiss said. "He's a warrior who puts his body on the line week in, week out. We know that. It's amazing what he pulls from his reserves.
"I imagine he'll do everything to be available for Italy. He's talking as though he'll be there"
O'Driscoll's centre partner Luke Marshall was also concussed against France.