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Lions trio Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald could be playing again as early as next week.

Lions trio Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald could be playing again as early as next week.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt hopes to have his star centre, fullback and wing back in action against Edinburgh on January 4.

Triple Lions tourist O'Driscoll hasn't featured since October, after he sustained ankle ligament damage in a league game against Cardiff Blues.

The 33-year-old was expected to return later next month, but now seems ready to press his claims for a fourth successive Lions tour ahead of schedule.

Kearney remains one of the favourites for the Lions starting fullback berth in Australia, having played in all three Tests against the Springboks in 2009, but he has spent all but 32 minutes of the season on the sidelines.

The 26-year-old injured his back in the Pro12 defeat to Connacht on September 28 and, like O'Driscoll, missed each of Ireland's three games in November.

Fitzgerald, who also won Test honours for the Lions three years ago, has been out for even longer, with a neck problem meaning he hasn't played at all this term.

"We'd be pretty confident about Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald getting back for Edinburgh," Schmidt told RTE.

"And there're a couple of other guys – Richardt Strauss should be back, Isa Nacewa should be back.

"So, that will hopefully give us a run into the Scarlets [Heineken Cup] game."

Source: lionsrugby.com

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Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
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Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
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