Ian Madigan passed fit to play Harlequins at The Stoop

Doubts remain over Luke Fitzgerald and Richardt Strauss for key European game

The Leinster medics have cleared Ian Madigan to face Harlequins at The Stoop this Sunday but doubts surround the return of Luke Fitzgerald and Richardt Strauss.

Neither Ireland international has been able to resume full training with Fitzgerald suffering from a recurring abductor-groin issue while Strauss tightened the same hamstring that required surgery last season.

"We got a few lads that are touch and go at the moment," said scrum coach Marco Caputo. "A couple of guys going through return to play concussion protocols, Kane Douglas and Mike McCarthy, those two guys are the most obvious.

“Otherwise we are the same as we were last week.”


Fitzgerald and Strauss were unfit to play in the 18-12 victory over the Ospreys last Saturday, a game that saw Madigan replaced at half-time after twisting his ankle.

Douglas, the 14-times capped Australian lock, suffered his second concussion since October 31st in the same match.

“At Leinster we haven’t been able to put out the same team consecutively because we are in a league that is very confrontational,” Caputo added. “It seems to me that there is a lot more bumps and bruises, guys taking head knocks seems to be more prevalent this year than it was in other years so you can’t really look too far ahead.”

Of the Irish contingent that faced the Wallabies, only Madigan, Eoin Reddan, Gordon D'Arcy and Rhys Ruddock were involved against the Ospreys with Jack McGrath, Seán Cronin, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney all due to come straight back into the side this weekend.

Kearney, however, must also pass concussion protocols.

“Ospreys at the weekend was a game of real intensity,” Caputo added.

"Look at the (frontrow) guys who were out there in the critical moments – Tadhg Furlong, Bryan Byrne, Michael Bent even – guys who are not used to playing in a high-pressure arm wrestle, but they delivered for us in the last 15, 20 minutes when the game was in the balance.

“The fact that we were able to draw two scrum penalties to close the game out gives us a huge amount of confidence and really sets us up with a good sound depth right throughout the group.”

Ben Te’o will have his cast removed this week and should return to action over the Christmas period.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent