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Heaslip And O’Driscoll Add To Leinster’s Options

Heaslip And O’Driscoll Add To Leinster’s Options

The Leinster squad have stepped up their preparations ahead of Friday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with the Cardiff Blues at the RDS (kick-off 7.35pm).

There were several injuries arising from last weekend’s game in Glasgow and stand-in captain Shane Jennings will miss the next few weeks with a fractured bone in his right hand.

Former Wallaby winger Lote Tuqiri (hamstring strain) is making good progress and the management expect him to be in the frame for selection ahead of Thursday’s team announcement.

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It is hoped that the likes of Jamie Heaslip and Brian O’Driscoll will be available to return to matchday duty along with fellow Lions Cian Healy and Rob Kearney, who both featured for the first time in this campaign last weekend.

The quartet were part of a large Leinster contingent involved in a two-day Ireland training camp in Kildare in the early part of this week.

Another Ireland international, Isaac Boss, is in line to make his 80th appearance for the province next time out.

Luke Fitzgerald and Quinn Roux stepped up their rehabilitation programmes in recent weeks and they could also come into the frame, while Darragh Fanning will also be available after withdrawing from the panel in Glasgow due to a minor knock picked up in training.

In addition, Sean O’Brien is making good progress and should return to action in the coming weeks.

Asked about whether Ian Madigan will start at out-half this weekend, head coach Matt O’Connor said: “It’s a matter of horses for courses. It’s what we think, week on week, will get us the best result at the weekend.

“Jimmy (Gopperth) has done a really good job for us, but from his personal perspective Ian needs to be there because he is still relatively inexperienced in relation to being the first-up guy starting in that (10) shirt.

“He sets himself really high standards and he will be looking to be really good from minute one.”

Ticket sales for Friday’s match are approaching the 15,000 mark. Tickets are on sale online here and are available to purchase from Spar Donnybrook, the Leinster Rugby Store in Donnybrook and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.