Joe Schmidt would not be surprised to see a “stubborn” Sean O’Brien play again this year, despite suffering a broken arm in Ireland’s victory over Argentina on Saturday.
The back-row spent much of last season on the sidelines with a shoulder injury and suffered another blow in the first half of a 28-17 win at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland head coach Schmidt expects O’Brien to be fully fit by the time Ireland start the defence of their Six Nations title in February.
“He’s gutted, I’m gutted for him. I think the team are,” said the New Zealander.
“Actually, I thought he was just getting into his rhythm in the game.”
Schmidt added: “He’s already thinking about his rehab and about trying to make sure he gets back. He’s got a big target in a year’s time [the World Cup] that he wants to get to.
“I think I described him as a stubborn man and I think that ability to bounce back, that resilience that he has, would still give him a chance of getting back in time for toward the end of the year and then into the Six Nations.”
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