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Sexton And Toner Close To Returning

Sexton And Toner Close To Returning

The Leinster squad trained at UCD on Monday evening and the Leinster management reported no new injury worries ahead of Friday night’s Magners League clash with Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

Jonathan Sexton and Devin Toner stepped up their rehabilitation this week and a decision on their fitness will be made at Thursday’s team announcement as both players bid to make their seasonal competitive debuts.

Regular Leinster captain Leo Cullen is progressing well from shoulder surgery and though he won’t be available this week, it is hoped that he will return to action over the coming weeks.

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Rob Kearney, meanwhile, made his 99th Leinster appearance against Benetton Treviso last weekend.

Speaking ahead of Friday night’s game at Murrayfield, young out-half Ian Madigan said that the Leinster players are determined to improve their consistency against Edinburgh.

“There are a few things that we need to work on. At the forefront of that would be our ball retention and we need to be more clinical at the breakdown,” he said.

“Then in attack maybe we need to offer with our lines of running. There was definite disappointment in the dressing room afterwards because it was the third game in-a-row that we have gone ahead and fell behind in the second half. That’s something that we have to address.”

Commenting on Edinburgh, he admitted: “They’re a very dogged side and they have one of the best place-kickers in the competition in Chris Paterson.

“We know that we’re going to have to be very disciplined going over there. They’re none from three, and we have won just the once in three games, so both teams are going to look to win the game. So we’re expecting a close one on Friday.

“Both teams know that if either side loses that they will be in the bottom three (of the Magners League), but if you win you could find yourself back in the top four. So it’s a very important game for both of us, so early on in the season.”

Last Saturday’s loss in Treviso was just Madigan’s third senior start for Leinster. The 21-year-old Academy player, who scored the bonus point against Cardiff recently, has enjoyed the challenge of making the step-up to Magners League level.

“I was delighted to be in the senior squad for a few of the opening games of the season and hopefully I’ll get a few more chances as the season goes on,” he said.

“I have found that what I’ve learned in the Academy has really stood to me. The focus was probably more on weights (there) than with the seniors who would spend more time on the pitch.

“That’s to get you physically ready if you do get call up with the seniors.

“This season with a new coach in Joe (Schmidt), I really like the brand of rugby that he’s playing. It’s about trying to have to have the skills-set to be able to play that brand of rugby that he’s trying to bring in.

“Growing up when I was maybe 11 or 12, I would have seen Brian O’Driscoll or Gordon D’Arcy playing and I would have dreamt of playing alongside them.

“Now I have the opportunity to do that and it’s a dream come true. I wake up every morning feeling lucky and looking forward to going to training.”