Leinster head coach Leo Cullen spoke to media today from the province’s base in UCD and gave an injury update ahead of the New Year’s Eve clash with Ulster in the GUINNESS PRO12.
Ian Nagle was withdrawn for a head injury assessment in the second half against Munster last night and was being assessed again today. Otherwise it was a positive injury update after the 29-17 derby defeat to Munster.
Leo Cullen also gave an update on Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney ahead of next weekend. Sexton will again be out in Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry this week and is being monitored closely, but he will be reintroduced back into the rugby programme this week and in fact has already trained in UCD today.
Full-back Kearney also trained in UCD today and his ankle injury will be reviewed further this week ahead of selection for the Ulster game.
With over 17,000 tickets already sold for the New Year’s Eve match at the RDS (kick-off 3pm), just over 1,000 tickets remain for the interprovincial derby and they are expected to be sold in the next few days. The remaining tickets can be purchased at leinsterrugby.ie/tickets.
Giving his reaction last night following the loss at Thomond Park, the Leinster head coach said: “When you come away to Thomond Park and don’t have decent quality possession, it is going to be bloody hard to win the game. That’s probably the big learning for us – how we manage the game better.
“There, were seven internationals in that pack and young guys who I really wanted to see how they handled the atmosphere down there as well. For the most part of that first half, I thought we were well and truly in the game. If we got a bit more quality ball we certainly would make life a hell of a lot easier for ourselves.
“Then we concede a try (to Ronan O’Mahony) right before half-time which knocks a little bit of confidence. Maybe it starts to seep in with guys, when they hear rumblings of the selection, etc. It just becomes a bit tougher. You could see a bit of confidence drained out of us.
“We don’t manage the game especially well at the start of the second-half…we are managing selections plus injuries. It’s just a combination that other teams have to deal with as well, it’s a tough place to come at the best of time.”
Looking ahead to next Saturday’s visit of Ulster, Cullen added: “We want to make sure we put in a big performance in front of our home fans. Ulster have the advantage because they have an eight-day turnaround, we have a five-day turnaround.
“We need to rest up and I’m sure guys are going to be sore and bruised but we are going to get them in tomorrow (Tuesday) to recover. We will try and get them moving as soon as possible because some guys will have to double up again.”