Mike Ross, Zane Kirchner and Mike McCarthy poised to start for Leinster

Coach Matt O’Connor rules out suggestion of independent doctor for head injuries

Mike Ross may get the nod over Marty Moore at tighthead for the RaboDirect Pro 12 final against Glasgow. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Mike Ross may get the nod over Marty Moore at tighthead for the RaboDirect Pro 12 final against Glasgow. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Thu, May 29, 2014, 01:00

Indications are that Leinster coach Matt O’Connor will make three changes to the starting XV that beat Ulster for Saturday’s Pro 12 final against Glasgow at the RDS.

Mike Ross is poised to regain the number three jersey from Marty Moore while Mike McCarthy’s calf will be reassessed today. O’Connor said McCarthy is “a lot closer than we would have thought. He trained (Tuesday) and we’ve just got to make to make a good risk assessment of how long he will last.”

If McCarthy’s injury, sustained against Edinburgh on May 10th, fails to pass the risk assessment then Jordi Murphy could get an 11th hour reprieve – having been excluded from the semi-final squad – although it’s more likely that Quinn Roux would be retained with Leo Cullen on the bench either way.

Murphy, who has eight tries in 21 appearances for Leinster this season, appears to have suffered from promotion to Ireland’s Six Nations squad.

Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip have been fixtures in Jonno Gibbes’ backrow while Sean O’Brien’s early return from shoulder surgery makes him an ideal impact replacement with Rhys Ruddock at blindside flanker.

Discomfort

Ruddock can also cover lock – Roux looked in some discomfort during last Friday’s British and Irish Cup final – while Dave Kearney’s knee injury will see Zane Kirchner come onto the wing.

This has also been a breakthrough campaign for Moore, having featured in 27 games to Ross’ 20 Leinster appearances (only 876 minutes to Moore’s 1200).

Eleven years his junior, Moore also relieved Ross (34) for the last quarter of all five Ireland matches in the Six Nations.

The exclusion of Murphy and benching of Moore could prove of value to their Ireland careers as it gives them a greater chance of starting the first Test in Argentina on June 7th.

Fergus McFadden and Brian O’Driscoll both received clean bills of health last week, having sustained what Leinster described as non-concussive head injuries against Ulster on May 17th.

“I don’t know the label that was attached to it but they are good as gold,” said O’Connor. “They have done the protocols, they have trained all week and showed no side effects at all.”

Sean Cronin’s injury was described by O’Connor as a “bit of fatigue and a bang on the shoulder. He is fine.”

Head injuries

The Leinster coach disagreed when it was suggested that any decision on head injuries should be taken away from the team doctor.

“The number one priority for the team doctors is the player’s welfare so I don’t think you are going to get a better decision by an independent because [the team doctors] have the best interest of the players at heart and are going to make the best decisions to protect the player’s welfare.

“It’s a no brainer. If you get it wrong then coach and team doctor are the ones accountable.”

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