Leinster staring into prop conundrum with decision on Furlong’s fitness still to come

Injuries to Clarkson and Byrne could leave prop stocks light if Furlong is not passed fit to play

Leinster are still awaiting news on Tadhg Furlong’s fitness ahead of the St Stephen’s Day interpro away to Munster. The tighthead prop, who has not featured since the victory over Ulster on December 3rd due to an ankle injury, has progressed his training load but any decision on his participation next Monday will not be made until later this week.

If Furlong is not passed fit to play, Leinster could well be short of personnel on the tighthead side of the scrum after Thomas Clarkson picked up an arm injury playing for Trinity in the AIL, one that is set to sideline him for eight weeks. Michael Ala’alatoa was taken off at half-time during Friday night’s win over Gloucester though Leo Cullen later described his issue as mere “tightness.” The Samoan prop has started the last three games for Leinster in Furlong’s absence.

Leinster do have the newly capped Georgian international Vakh Abdaladze to call upon if required.

If Leinster are indeed light on tightheads, that could have ramifications for Cian Healy on the loosehead side given his ability to cover both positions. Ed Byrne, who came off the bench on Friday against Gloucester, has been ruled out for three months after picking up a neck injury in that game, meaning Healy could well be required to cover his more natural position. The prop injury situation could well see Michael Milne come into contention if Andrew Porter is rested after starting both recent Champions Cup fixtures.


Elsewhere, Johnny Sexton and Jordan Larmour both came through their first match back from calf and foot injuries respectively unscathed, while Will Connors is nearing a recovery from a bicep injury, with a decision on his availability for the Munster clash to be made at a later date.

Jason Jenkins (hamstring), Robbie Henshaw (wrist), Martin Moloney (knee), Ciarán Frawley (knee), James Tracy (neck), Charlie Ryan (knee) and Tommy O’Brien (knee) all remain sidelined.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist