SOB ready to bounce back after difficult spell

Date published: December 29 2015

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Leinster openside flanker Sean O'Brien is determined to put a difficult spell behind him and help his province regain their former glories.

O'Brien had to watch Ireland's Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina from the sidelines after he was suspended in his side's final pool match against France for punching les Bleus lock Pascal Pape.

He returned from the global showpiece and looked out of sorts before being diagnosed with vestibular impairment, an ear condition which affected his balance.

The 28-year-old returned to action at the weekend and was named man of the match in Leinster's 24-7 derby win over Munster at Thomond Park.

O'Brien also signed a new three-year contract with Leinster last week and said he was relieved to be back on the playing field after his ear injury.

"I don't know if it was scary but it was very frustrating," he told the Irish Independent.

"Thankfully, it's sorted. Leinster have been very good with me and not rushing me back. It's felt grand and I felt very good out there.

"I wanted to play my part for the team and do my bit for the performance. There's been a lot of frustration over the past couple of weeks, it was more so about that than playing with any freedom."

After a couple of poor performances against Toulon in the Champions Cup, Leinster returned to winning ways in the PRO12 and O'Brien's comeback seemed to galvanise his team-mates at Munster.

"The win was the most important thing obviously," he added.

"Communication is a big thing when the crowd are roaring and shouting and you're under a bit of pressure. I was happy with a lot of stuff in my game, I'm happy with other bits and pieces, it's just the overall thing was to come down here and win.

"We take pride in our defence and it's been working well in the last couple of weeks, we've been there or thereabouts in games and not finishing games the way we want to.

"The D has certainly been a big aspect of it and it was pretty good (against Munster), obviously a lot of room for improvements too but overall we can be happy with the defensive performance."

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