Leinster fit and well ahead of Scarlets

Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 00:00

Rugby:Leinster have reported a clean bill of health ahead of the crucial Heineken Cup pool game against Scarlets at the RDS on Saturday (6pm).

Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney and Brian O’Driscoll all returned from form long-term injuries in Friday night’s bonus point win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield, and emerged unscathed.

“The management are hopeful that (utility back) Isa Nacewa and (hooker) Richardt Strauss will both return to the panel for the visit of the Llanelli based side,” read a Leinster statement this afternoon. “(Wing) Dave Kearney and (centre) Eoin O’Malley should also come into the frame to join Ireland international Fergus McFadden, who was rested for the victory in the Scottish capital.”

Leinster need bonus point wins from their remaining pool games against Scarlets and Exeter Chiefs if they are to have any hope of qualifying for the knockout stages behind pool five leaders Clermont Auvergne.

The squad will depart for Johnstown House, Co Meath, this evening for a night of relaxation, but the game will not be far from their minds, according to Leinster manager Guy Easterby.

“It’s a must win game,” he said today. “That focuses the mind pretty well.”

Hooker Seán Cronin insists Leinster cannot afford to panic in the pursuit of a tries and a bonus-point.

“It (defeat) would be a huge disappointment,” said the Ireland international. “There’s no point in beating about the bush, because it would be extremely disappointing.

“This match is about getting best prepared. We’ve got to grind them down over the game.”

Cronin own future has been cast into doubt in recent weeks, but the former Connacht forward says it will all be cleared up soon, though he gave little away.

“My own future is sorted. There will be an announcement in the next couple of weeks with regard to that.”

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