Jamies Heaslip ‘50-50’ for Castres Champions Cup clash

Seán O’Brien and Cian Healy remain ‘long-shots’ to be involved this month

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip receives treatment on his shoulder from physio Garreth Farrell. Photograph: James Crombie / Inpho

The chances of Leinster captain and number eight Jamie Heaslip taking part in this weekend's pivotal European Champions Cup match against Top 14 side Castres are "50-50".

Flanker Seán O'Brien and loosehead prop Cian Healy, however, are still working on rehabilitation and will struggle to take part in games against the French side or Premiership side Wasps the following weekend.

"Jamie's working away," said forwards coach Leo Cullen on Monday. "He was in the gym last week just making sure he was able to get back . . . working away at his rehab.

“He’ll be out on the pitch today for the first time so we can assess him then . . . see what it feels like for him running around.


“As the week goes on we can start building in a little bit of contact and see how that goes. We can make a call then later in the week. Listen, we hope he will be available because he’s such a key figure for us. I’d say he’s probably 50-50 at this stage.”

The situation with Healy had become confused and is still not crystal clearbecause of the nature of his injury. Healy tore his hamstring off the bone.

Leinster have cautioned against any hopes that the dynamic frontrow would play a part over the next two weeks.

“I wouldn’t say it’s confirmed (that Healy won’t play),” added Cullen. “Listen with those long term guys (Healy and O’Brien), they are just constantly managed so Cian and Seán . . . and Cian was probably a little bit ahead of Seány.

“Again, week to week he (Healy) gets his hamstring tested in terms of what the strength differential (between hamstrings) is and he will run today.

“But the nature of long term injury is that you have weeks where you have good days and some weeks you almost go nowhere, so he’s working away. Ultimately it will come down to the surgeon and medics and what they view is appropriate and how many boxes he’s ticked. It’s probably a bit of a long shot at this stage. There are so many big games coming up. Listen, we probably won’t be putting anyone under any risk.”

Shane Jennings, who pulled out of the game in the warm up against Ulster with a hamstring problem, is expected be fit enough for consideration.

“He felt a bit of tightening. Even though he played the previous weeks, I think he had a bit of referral coming from his back,” said Cullen. “Again he did a little bit of training last week to get himself back but it was deemed wise not to risk him last weekend and he’ll come back into the mix again today.”

Leinster still haven't decided whether they are going to appeal prop Jack McGrath's three-match ban for stamping on Rory Best in the win over Ulster.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times