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Flanker O'Brien returns for Ireland

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/11/2016 Nick Purewal

World class flanker Sean O'Brien admits he didn't see eye to eye with Joe Schmidt over the Ireland coach's decision to omit him from their historic win over New Zealand.

O'Brien insists he felt "100 per cent" fit for the game in Chicago, where New Zealander Schmidt's men claimed their first-ever win against the All Blacks.

Loose forward pair O'Brien (hamstring) and Peter O'Mahony (knee) were held back from action in the United States as both continued to recover from long-term injuries.

Both are a strong chance to return against Canada on Saturday in Dublin, where Ireland will host the All Blacks in a spicy rematch a week later.

"I wouldn't say I completely agreed with it," O'Brien said of being left out of the 40-29 triumph in Chicago.

"But that's the call that they made. I did need more game-time but you always back yourself if called upon to do a good job.

"I've had no issues. I would have been 100 per cent if selected (for Chicago)."

O'Brien has not featured in Test rugby since February, when he suffered another severe hamstring injury in Six Nations Test against France.

Munster flanker O'Mahony has railed against knee problems since suffering ligament damage at the World Cup.

Missing Ireland's first win over New Zealand in 111 years is bound to sit sorely with both but O'Brien accepts the challenge now is to produce a performance against Canada worthy of last weekend's landmark victory.

O'Brien has every intention of fighting his way into the starting line-up for the home clash with New Zealand.

"I was delighted for the lads in Chicago. Obviously disappointed not to be over there and involved, but the lads put in a serious performance and effort. You could only be happy for them," he said.

"There's a great buzz round the place (on Tuesday and on Monday). It was brilliant, but on a personal level not great. Possibly it was a week too soon for me.

"That's just the way it goes sometimes."

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