Irish skipper O’Driscoll to miss Six Nations

O’Driscoll to miss Six Nations as Ireland skipper faces six months out after shoulder op

Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll will undergo surgery for a trapped nerve in his shoulder next week and is expected to be ruled out for up to six months.

The Leinster centre is now set to miss the Six Nations and the Irish province’s bid to retain the Heineken Cup.

O’Driscoll struggled with a shoulder problem throughout the World Cup and missed Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 game against Munster.

Big loss: Brian O'Driscoll will miss the Six Nations and the Heineken Cup

In a statement on their club website, Leinster said: ‘It has been confirmed that Brian O’Driscoll will undergo surgery next week for a trapped nerve in his shoulder which is expected to rule the Ireland captain out for up to six months.’

The loss of O’Driscoll will be a big blow for the province who have been without the 32-year-old since Ireland’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat by Wales in Wellington.

But O’Driscoll has revealed that surgery was the only solution to the trapped nerve that was troubling his everyday life.

‘It’s a trapped nerve starting from my neck and running down into my arm,’ he said. ‘I need the operation for general life, not just from a rugby point of view.

‘It had become too uncomfortable over the past eight or so months and has grown progressively worse since the World Cup.

‘I just couldn’t go through another full season like this.

Held back: O'Driscoll (left) was subdued at the recent World Cup

‘The time came to get some opinions on it and all the surgeons I saw were singing from the same hymn sheet. That gave me confidence that it did need doing.

‘I’ve felt it during collisions, whether I’ve been in control of them or not.

‘It hasn’t been dangerous, but you go down because your arm doesn’t work which means you’re not much good to your team.’

O’Driscoll, who earned the first of his 117 Ireland caps in 1999, will now face a race against time to return to fitness before the end of the season.

The Leinster centre is Ireland’s record try scorer and in 2011 he broke the 78-year-old record set by Scotland’s Ian Smith as the all-time Five/Six Nations top try scorer when he crossed for his 25th championship try against England.

O’Driscoll has been unlucky with injury, notably missing the majority of the 2005 British Lions tour to New Zealand after he suffered a dislocated shoulder following an illegal spear tackle by Tana Umaga.

Last month, the centre revealed in an interview with the Evening Herald that he wants to bow out of the game after the 2013 Lions Tour to Australia.