Sean O’Brien made an impressive and long-awaited debut for London Irish despite his side being on the wrong end of a 39 – 0 drubbing.
In miserable conditions O’Brien was particularly good on the deck, with a total of three turnovers to his name by the end of his 48-minute shift.
O’Brien’s debut came after months on the sideline. Last May his former club Leinster revealed that the flanker would undergo surgery on a hip injury.
The injury ruled O’Brien out of the Rugby World Cup in Japan. London Irish were reported to have signed the veteran forward on £450,000 per season.
The 33-year-old was one of Leinster’s most decorated players, having come through the Leinster Academy system and having played 122 times for Leinster since his debut in September 2008 against the Cardiff Blues.
The Exiles remain in eighth place and their director of rugby Declan Kidney believes it was a steep learning curve for his players.
“We have a lot of younger lads who need to learn to play these types of games,” Kidney said. “Once we learn, it will put us in a better position.
“Everybody will look at the last 10 or 15 minutes when the scoreline got well away from us, but I’m taking a closer look at the first 50 because, if you get that right, that last 20 becomes a totally different game.
“Sale play a good game of rugby and you have to learn to play the different styles. Sale are able to play that way, that’s why they’re going so well, and we must learn to play against sides that play that type of game. It’s doable but you have to be on the money.”
No doubt the addition of a fit Sean O’Brien will aid Kidney’s endeavors.
– RugbyPass/Additonal reporting Press Association
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