Cian Healy to undergo final assessment as he eyes Six Nations return

Ireland prop will not play part in Leinster’s final two pool games in Champions Cup

Cian Healy has been training for several weeks but has yet to engage in full-contact rugby. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cian Healy has been training for several weeks but has yet to engage in full-contact rugby. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy will find out today whether he is ready to resume contact and scrum work.

Healy, who has been training for several weeks, will undergo a final medical evaluation, with Leinster hoping he may be able to return to action before the end of the month.

The official line from Leinster is that he won’t be involved in the province’s final two Champions Cup pool matches against Castres and Wasps. This point that was cleared up following a slight discrepancy in remarks made by coach Matt O’Connor and forwards’ coach Mark Caputo.

Healy would still have a number of options ahead of Ireland’s opening Six Nations match against Italy in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday, February 7th.

Leinster A have a British & Irish Cup quarter-final away to the Rotherham Titans on Saturday, January 24th, but given that it’s the same weekend as the Wasps match, he’s unlikely to be ruled out of one and play in another.

On the following weekend Healy could line out for Clontarf against UCD at the Belfield Bowl on the Saturday or for the Ireland Wolfhounds against the England Saxons at Musgrave Park the night before. All this is contingent upon the player suffering no hiccups when he returns to full-contact training.

Seán O’Brien is about a week behind Healy so will need a little game time in early February ahead of returning to the national squad. Leinster picked up no injuries in their 22-13 victory over the Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

Tom Denton withdrew in the warm-up because of a stiff neck that had bothered him all week. Mike McCarthy started and Ben Marshall came into the replacements.

Walking freely

Marty Moore

Leinster’s European Champions Cup opponents next Saturday at the RDS, Castres Olympique, were thumped 49-13 away to Stade Francais in what was a very emotive game given the events in Paris last week. Castres have the benefit of an extra day’s preparation, although they have nothing to play for in Europe.

Munster’s four-try, bonus-point win over Zebre in Italy was achieved without any serious injury issues ahead of the Champions Cup game against Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday. Loosehead prop James Cronin and Keith Earls, both of whom were returning from injury, both managed a little under half an hour off the bench.

Conor Murray did pick up a bang but was able to return to the pitch before eventually coming off in the second half.

Saracens played last Friday night, losing 24-23 to Gloucester at Kingsholm. Their main concern ahead of the Munster match is England outhalf Owen Farrell, who didn’t play.

“He has a very minor strain,” said Mark McCall, Saracens director of rugby. “We are very confident he will be fit for Munster.”

Limping off

Jared Payne

Toulon were relatively easy winners over Racing Metro 92 32-23 in the French Top 14.

Connacht’s opponents in the Challenge Cup, Exeter, lost to struggling London Irish yesterday evening as Shane Geraghty dropped a last-gasp goal to claim a 28-26 victory for his side.

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