Leinster duo battle to replace injured O'Brien ahead of Six Nations opener

The Irish Rugby team are stepping up preparations for Saturday’s Six Nations opener against France.

After spending the past week in Spain, Joe Schmidt’s squad return to training at Carton House.

Jordi Murphy, Ross Byrne and Josh van derFlier. Pics: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The Leinster pair of Josh van der Flier and Jordi Murphy are said to locked in a battle to take the place of the injured Sean O’Brien in the back row.

O’Brien is struggling with a hip issue, but it is hoped he will be fit for the final games against Scotland and England.

Schmidt thinks that could be vital.

"There will be some movement during the tournament," Schmidt said. "because of the magnitude of the competition there might be a little bit of attrition as well.

"It’s good to get that freshness in if there is a bit a fatigue setting in."

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