Sean O'Brien to return on Friday ahead of Six Nations finale

Sean O'Brien will make his long-awaited return from injury on Friday, writes Stephen Barry.

The flanker, who had surgery on a hip injury he sustained against the Exeter Chiefs in December, will captain Leinster away to the Scarlets.

O'Brien's return for the match delayed by Storm Emma puts him in with an outside chance of facing England in Ireland's final Six Nations game on St Patrick's Day.

Ireland's back-row against Wales featured Peter O'Mahony, Dan Leavy and CJ Stander, with Jack Conan sprung from the bench. Jordi Murphy is reported to be in contention for a replacement spot this week.

With Josh van der Flier ruled out of the championship, O'Brien may be more likely to provide injury cover, if required.

Joe Schmidt is expected to start Garry Ringrose on Saturday against Scotland in similar circumstances. He played for Leinster two weeks ago to prove his fitness, while Robbie Henshaw and Chris Farrell have picked up injuries.

O'Brien was one of three Irish players to start every game for the Lions last summer, alongside Tadhg Furlong and Conor Murray, but has played only six times since then, including two of Ireland's autumn internationals.

The Leinster team is as follows (caps in brackets):

15. Dave Kearney (120)

14. Barry Daly (21)

13. Rory O'Loughlin (35)

12. Noel Reid (96)

11. James Lowe (7)

10. Ross Byrne (43)

9. Nick McCarthy (20)

1. Ed Byrne (20)

2. Bryan Byrne (24)

3. Michael Bent (102)

4. Ross Molony (58)

5. Scott Fardy (15)

6. Josh Murphy (6)

7. Seán O'Brien (114) CAPTAIN

8. Jack Conan (67)

16. James Tracy (56)

17. Peter Dooley (45)

18. Adam Coyle (1)

19. Mick Kearney (31)

20. Max Deegan (14)

21. Charlie Rock (1)

22. Ciarán Frawley (2)

23. Adam Byrne (33)

By Stephen Barry

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