Speaking to the media in Leinster HQ this week, the province’s senior coach Stuart Lancaster provided an update on injuries ahead of the Champions Cup round 3 match against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).
Stuart Lancaster confirmed that out-half Johnny Sexton will be out in the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry again this week and will be monitored further for a hamstring injury.
“Johnny is in good shape, but he’s going through a rehab programme which means he’s unlikely to be involved this weekend,” said the former England boss.
With Sexton likely to miss out this Friday, Joey Carbery could be in line to start against Northampton Saints on Friday night. Lancaster was full of praise for the Athy man after an impressive start to the season with both Leinster and Ireland.
“Joey Carbery, for me, is one of the standout players that’s come through the Academy. He’s an unbelievable talent, very composed. I’ve seen him grow in leadership over the last two months. He’s gone from being on the fringes to being the main man.
“At 21-years-old he reminds me a lot of the young English fly-halves, the Owens (Farrell) and the Georges (Ford), in the way he’s dealt with that. He’s grown from being the quiet guy in the meeting to the guy running the meeting, which is impressive. We’ve got massive faith in him.
“Johnny will be back soon. It’s not a long-standing injury by any stretch of the imagination. But in the meantime we invest in Joey, and he’s got Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose outside him, two equally exciting young Irish backs.”
Henshaw and Rob Kearney have taken part in non-contact training as part of their graduated return-to-play process and will be further assessed this week. Michael Bent was withdrawn from team named to play the Newport Gwent Dragons with a calf injury. His availability for the Northampton match this Friday will be determined later in the week.
Noel Reid left the Dragons match with a foot injury in the first half and will be further assessed before this week’s return to European action, as will Sean O’Brien who is recovering from a hip flexor injury picked up while on international duty.
Lancaster also confirmed that Rhys Ruddock came through the game against the Dragons with no reaction to the calf injury that kept him out the week before, and fellow back rower Dominic Ryan has resumed full training after recovering from his own calf injury. Billy Dardis had also stepped up his rehabilitation programme and will again take part in on-pitch training this week.
Looking ahead to the back-to-back games against Saints, Lancaster said: “There is no doubt there’s a uniqueness about this back-to-back experience that we’re about to go through, playing Northampton away from home and then at home.
“I remember watching Leinster go to Northampton (in December 2014), put in a fantastic performance and win. And then Northampton did the same at the Aviva. There’s history between these two clubs, they’ve obviously played in the final together. It’s going to be a great occasion at Franklin’s Gardens.”