Seán O’Brien set for Leinster return
Flanker due to make first appearance of the season in derby game against Munster at Thomond
Seán O’Brien is likely to make his first appearance of the season against Munster on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Seán O’Brien is expected to be available for selection for the for the first time this season as Leinster face into their first big derby match of the season against Munster in Thomond Park on Saturday (6.45pm).
The Ireland and Lions flanker’s availability gives Leinster coach Matt O’Connor almost a full deck to play with. Former Australia wing Lote Tuqiri, who also took part in today’s training session at UCD, is also expected to be fit.
“I think we made 11 changes on Saturday against Cardiff and five or six got their first starts,” said Leinster manager Guy Easterby. “Cian (Healy) and Rob (Kearney) had their first starts along with Brian (O’Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip. It was great to get all those guys back on the pitch especially for Matt, who is trying to bring in some new philosophies and new calling. It was an important day out for us.
“We also came out of the weekend okay injury wise which is really good beause were leading in to a really tough and attritional period. The level of intensity of the games is going to go up from now on and that starts on Saturday down in Limerick.”
Ireland quartet Gordon D’Arcy, Mike McCarthy, Kevin McLaughlin and Eoin Reddan are also expected to return to the panel. McLaughlin and Fergus McFadden are both just three appearances short of the 100-cap mark for their home province.
Winger Darren Hudson (hamstring strain) is responding well to treatment and could return to action over the next fortnight, while flanker Dominic Ryan’s next appearance will be his 50th in Leinster colours.