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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Irish ready for O'Driscoll fight
Brian O'Driscoll is not expected to be back playing until December
Brian O'Driscoll has always fancied a stint in French rugby
Irish officials are battling to prevent Brian O'Driscoll from moving to France when his contract ends next June.

O'Driscoll's appearance at Saturday's match between Biarritz and Stade Francais fuelled rumours the centre, 26, could be heading for the continent.

But the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) want their captain to stay and say they are in talks about a new deal.

"We shall do all everything we can to ensure Brian is not lost to the game in Ireland," said a spokesman.

"The IRFU is committed to a policy of keeping all its top players in Ireland and O'Driscoll falls into that category."

O'Driscoll, who plays his club rugby for Leinster, is one of Ireland's top stars, having captained the side since 2003.

But he seems keen to take up a fresh challenge, a fact he made clear when interviewed by French television during Biarritz's game with Stade Francais at the weekend.

"I have never hidden the fact that, at some stage, I would like to play in France," he said.

"Would I want to play here? Why not? I like the Biarritz brand of rugby, I like the place and I like the atmosphere.

"I will have to make a decision next summer and when I do so, it will be for lifestyle reasons, not just financial ones."

O'Driscoll is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and is unlikely to return to action until December.

He is making good progress after being stretchered off in the opening seconds of the first Lions Test against New Zealand in June.

O'Driscoll may make autumn Tests
03 Aug 05 |  Internationals
O'Driscoll fumes at 'cheap shot'
25 Jun 05 |  Internationals

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