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Leinster Plan Without McLaughlin And Fitzgerald

Leinster Plan Without McLaughlin And Fitzgerald

Kevin McLaughlin was removed from the field of play with suspected concussion during Leinster’s GUINNESS PRO12 draw with Benetton Treviso last Sunday. He is currently following the return-to-play protocols and will not be involved against the Ospreys this weekend.

Luke Fitzgerald trained well all last week and it was only in the final moments of the warm-up against Treviso that he felt a tightness in his groin and was duly withdrawn from the team.

A statement from Leinster Rugby said: “It was not worth the risk on the day and Luke will be undergoing rehab this week with a view to returning next Monday ahead of the first European Champions Cup game against Harlequins.”

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Richardt Strauss felt his hamstring tighten in the first half of the Treviso game and is being assessed by the medical team at Leinster Rugby. A final decision on the hooker’s inclusion will be made later in the week.

Meanwhile, two tries against Treviso brought Darragh Fanning’s tally for the season up to five. No one has scored more tries for Leinster so far this season, but the winger says he would trade his two latest touchdowns if it meant Leinster left Italy with a win.

“It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet, it was probably a total of two yards for both of them! You’d obviously take the win over tries any day of the week. It’s not about me scoring, it’s about the team winning,” he insisted.

The focus now shifts to this Saturday’s PRO12 showdown with the table-topping Ospreys at the RDS. This will be Leinster’s first home game since the Halloween night victory over Edinburgh and it will be the final league match before the back-to-back Champions Cup clashes with Harlequins.

Fanning added: “I think Ospreys is the perfect way for us to kick off a massive two weeks in the European Cup. They’ve gone unbelievably well this year – as well as they have done in the last number of years.

“But particularly this year they’ve only lost one game in the Champions Cup to Northampton and then obviously (last weekend) they lost to a good Ulster side who are going very well at the top of table as well.

“It’s going to be a huge test for us. It’s a good chance for guys who are knocking on the door to put their hand up for those two weeks (in the Champions Cup).”

The St. Mary’s College clubman says that after the draw with Treviso the players are champing at the bit to put things right, saying: “We can’t really sit around and feel sorry for ourselves, and that’s probably a good thing. Noel Reid said it there earlier that he wishes he could play the game tonight because lads want to get out there and make up for last weekend.

“A lot of lads were very disappointed but we can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves – we’ve got to pick it up. Ospreys are top of the league for a reason. They’re a good side, a lot of good players.

“Obviously (former Leinster strength & conditioning coach) Jonny Claxton was involved here last year, so he’ll do a good job with them on fitness. We know they’re going to be here for an 80-minute battle. We’ve just got to go out and try and have a good training week – it’s going to be short and sharp – and bring it in to the weekend.”