Sexton still at least a month from fitness

Leinster resigned to being without their outhalf for Amlin Cup quarter-final against Wasps

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt.

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt.

Mon, Mar 25, 2013, 12:36

Jonny Sexton may have played his last Europe an match with Leinster for at least two years.

Coach Joe Schmidt does not expect Sexton to be available to him until sometime between the middle to end of next month with Leinster’s Amlin Challenge quarter-final against Wasps scheduled for April 5th in London. Defeat there would mean the end of Leinster’s run in Europe for this season.

Sexton, who injured a tendon in his foot on March 14th, prior to Ireland ’s final Six Nations Championship match against Italy, is moving to France over the summer on a two year contract with Racing Metro and is not expected to be fit for the early April European date.

He will, however, be available to play in Leinster’s closing matches of the Rabo Direct League and the play-off phases of both tournaments if the team progresses through to the final stages.

The Amlin Challenge semi-final is scheduled for April 27th and the final for May 17th in the RDS.

Schmidt has been told by medical staff that Sexton will be able to play in five to six weeks from the time of his injury (March 14th). Leinster plays Ospreys in their final PRO12 game on May 3rd with the semi-final play-off a week later and the final on May 25th.

Time frame
“I’m not sure when Jonny will be back available for us . . . we’ve been given a five to six week time frame,” said the Leinster coach when asked about his possible return to play. “Whatever we are planning over the next five or six weeks will mean it’s probably a little bit too soon for Jonny.”

Because of Ian Madigan adaptability, he may be called in for different roles next season when he will go head to head for the outhalf position with Jimmy Gopperth, who Leinster have signed from Newcastle on a two-year deal.

Schmidt also expects to talk to the injured Luke Fitzgerald about his future. Fitzgerald has been linked with a move to Munster. But the Leinster coach rates the Irish back highly and hopes to convince him to sign a new contract.