Leinster and Connacht assess injuries after attritional derby

With two interprovincial clashes this weekend, every player wants a piece of the action

Connacht and Ireland secondrow Ultan Dillane, who missed  the game against Leinster  through injury, has recovered and  will be available for selection this  weekend against Ulster. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht and Ireland secondrow Ultan Dillane, who missed the game against Leinster through injury, has recovered and will be available for selection this weekend against Ulster. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

A lot of tackles and no shortage of collisions for Leinster against a Connacht side that was intent on retaining ball possession ensures a wait- and-see policy is in place for both sides in the next few days.

And as the second week of derby matches between the provinces resumes, Leinster’s meeting with Munster on Saturday is heading towards a sellout.

Luke Fitzgerald, Cian Healy and Rob Kearney are all on the Leinster list of players with issues that will take a few days to untangle, while Connacht’s AJ MacGinty is out, with Jake Heenan and Nathan White also doubtful for Connacht’s game against Ulster.

Fitzgerald suffered a stinger, while prop Healy hyperextended his back. Kearney’s hamstring problem is being monitored for another few days.

But the niggles Johnny Sexton brought back to Leinster from the Six Nations Championship campaign have cleared up and the outhalf should be in a position to resume driving the Leinster team. Given that over 40,000 tickets have been sold for the Aviva stadium match, every player now wants a piece of Saturday.

Second Captains

Concussion

Jake Heenan will continue to undergo treatment for an ankle ligament injury picked up in training last week and his progress will be monitored, while Irish secondrow Ultan Dillane, who missed out on the game against Leinster, has recovered from his shoulder injury. The 22-year-old will be available for selection.

“It was a very physical game. Two players left the field with injury,” said Leinster assistant coach John Fogarty. “Luke Fitzgerald got a stinger and Cian Healy hyper- extended his back. We’re just having a look at them through the week. It’s early yet. Lots of bumps and bruises as well. Stinger, so it’s a wait and see thing.”

Rest

Sexton, after a much-needed rest following a bruising Six Nations, will be available for selection and hopefully, from a Leinster viewpoint, refreshed.

“Yeah, he [Sexton] came back with a few niggles, a few small things,” added Fogarty. “Nothing major and he is available.”

The former hooker spoke about Leinster’s drop in energy and counterpointed their lack of tries in the Sportsground with 14 from Munster in their last three games

“Bringing that good energy is always so important in those games. From the Connacht game to the Munster game we need to be sure about how we use the ball. There were a few kicks that would have been disappointing,” said Fogarty.

“We need to use the ball well and if we get three or four opportunities that we take them. The margins are very small in those tight matches. We are coming to that point in the season where there are four games left and teams vying for the top four positions.

“We are looking for a home semi-final. We can’t get too disappointed with last week’s game and not too excited about this week’s. We need a level head and to be clear about what we need to be good at.”

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