Richardt Strauss to undergo heart operation
Leinster and Ireland hooker faces prolonged absence from game
Richardt Strauss during an Ireland training session at Carton House in Septemer. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Leinster coach Matt O’Connor confirmed today that Ireland hooker Richardt Strauss will play no further role in Leinster’s season as the 27-year-old must undergo heart surgery.
“A hole was discovered in Richardt’s heart,” said O’Connor. “He will have (surgery) this week hopefully. It is a very minor procedure if there is such a thing in relation to your heart.
“The specialist is really confident that he will make a full recovery. He is just working out the appropriate time frame (of recovery) which they haven’t worked out at this time. It is probably less of an issue in relation to getting the guy back in a healthy state.”
O’Connor also confirmed that a new hooker will need to be signed for at least the remainder of the season.
Under IRFU rules, a foreign recruit does appear to be an option for Leinster in the position of hooker.
Strauss qualified to represent Ireland last year, having arrived in 2009 as a test case, and was duly capped against his native South Africa last November.
He has won four international caps and played 79 times for Leinster.
Meanwhile, Lote Tuqiri’s future as a Leinster player is also shrouded in doubt after the 34-year-old “re-strained” his hamstring in Saturday’s defeat to Munster at Thomond Park.
“Lote strained his hamstring at the weekend which is a re-strain from the Glasgow game,” said O’Connor, “which is disappointing for him as he had a few nice touches on the ball including, one where he actually strained it. He will be out for a couple of weeks.”
Tuqiri was selected at outside centre in place of Brian O’Driscoll who has a “50-50 chance” of recovering from a calf tear in time for Saturday’s opening Heineken Cup fixture against the Ospreys in Swansea.
Springboks fullback Zane Kirchner arrived in Dublin today, having featured against the All Blacks in Johannesburg on Saturday, and will link up with the squad later this week, so he could feature against the Ospreys.
Others unavailable due to injury are club captain Leo Cullen (Achilles), Jordi Murphy (ankle operation last week), Shane Jennings (hand) and Andrew Goodman.