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Lions coach Warren Gatland expects Irish pair Brian O'Driscoll and Sean O'Brien to be fit

Updated: Tuesday, 21 May 2013 09:06 | Comments

Brian O'Driscoll should be fit for Leinster's RaboDirect PRO12 final ahead of the Lions departure Warren Gatland has been impressed with what he has seen so far from his Lions squad
Brian O'Driscoll should be fit for Leinster's RaboDirect PRO12 final ahead of the Lions departure Warren Gatland has been impressed with what he has seen so far from his Lions squad

Warren Gatland expects Leinster duo Brian O'Driscoll and Sean O'Brien to be on board Monday's flight to Hong Kong, where the tour opens against the Barbarians on 1 June.

O'Driscoll should play in this weekend's RaboDirect PRO12 final against Ulster after making progress in his recovery from the back spasm that ruled him out of Friday's victory over Stade Francais.

O'Brien played in the Amlin Challenge Cup final against the French club only to pick up a knee injury that will sideline him for two weeks.

And Gatland has revealed that the Lions backs last week put their Wales counterparts "to the sword" as part of their preparations for Australia.

Those members of the 37-strong squad not involved in Amlin Challenge Cup, RaboDirect PRO12 or Aviva Premiership finals gathered at the Vale of Glamorgan for a training camp.

Gatland was delighted to see the Lions demolish Wales, who are touring Japan next month, during a practice run.

"I was really impressed with last week, not just over how well everyone gelled but from a technical aspect as well," the head coach said.

"Having been involved with the Lions four years ago, there has been a significant improvement in the players technically.

"We're fit, we're big, we're strong and have some real pace.

"We did some training against the Welsh team on Friday, the forwards did some line-outs and mauling against them.

"Having been involved with the Lions four years ago, there has been a significant improvement in the players technically." - Gatland

"Our backs ran against them and looked really, really sharp and put the Welsh team to the sword.

"They put them under a lot of pressure and came away from that feeling really, really positive."

Gatland, who has taken a break from his role as Wales head coach while he oversees the Lions, revealed that players from England, Ireland and Scotland were given an eye opener when they convened for training last week.

"Last week we trained with a level of intensity that some of the players from other countries hadn't experienced before," he said.

"Some of the Welsh boys hadn't experienced that for a few months as well. It reminded people of what the expectations are."

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