Ahead of the GUINNESS PRO12 game away to the Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday, Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster has issued an injury update to media ahead of the team announcement on Thursday.
Due to the attritional nature of last Friday’s bonus point victory over Edinburgh where Leinster finished with 14 men, it is no surprise that a number of players have been ruled out of contention for the trip to Rodney Parade.
Dominic Ryan, who was removed early in the match for a head injury assessment which he did not pass, has entered the return-to-play protocols as a result. However, Ryan also injured the medial ligament in his knee and as a result will be unavailable for selection this week.
Also in the back row, Leinster’s openside flanker on the night, Josh van der Flier, suffered a grade three injury to his AC joint (shoulder) in the first half against Edinburgh. He is undergoing further assessment this week but will be unavailable for selection this week and for the next three weeks at least, meaning he is set to miss the remainder of Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Stuart Lancaster commented: “The win against Edinburgh came at a cost and I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where we’ve had to make four changes by half-time, so credit to the boys who did really well to come out and manage that and come out on top.
“It’s really disappointing for Josh, obviously it’s a grade three AC joint injury. We’ve still got to get an opinion on it but there are players we know who’ve turned it around within three weeks so it sounds terrible but actually you can turn this around in quite a short space of time depending on what the experts say.
“Clearly (he’s) out for the next week or two which is a shame for him but it’s another opportunity for Dan Leavy to show what he can do. But Josh is pretty resilient and very very professional so he’ll do everything in his power to get back as fit as possible. I already see him rehabbing down there now, he’s been in the team review this morning so he’s up and about just frustrated.”
Similar to Ryan, Dave Kearney was removed at half-time for a HIA and did not pass, however he too picked up a further injury and damaged his toe which he will seek further opinion on. As a result, Kearney will be unavailable for selection this week.
“It’s a frustrating one for Dave because he’s worked really hard to get fit and now he’s going to have a couple more weeks on the sideline,” added Lancaster. “It’s part of the game, for someone like him he’s got plenty of years ahead of him, he’s still a young player and he’s played a lot for Ireland.
“For me, he’s someone we should be looking out for for the next number of years at least. It’s a small setback but he’s going to be fit come the end of the season and we’re going to need players like Dave fit and available and he’ll be fit by then.”
Lancaster also confirmed that Leinster captain Isa Nacewa twisted his knee in the build-up to the recent Benetton Treviso game. He underwent a minor procedure last week and will be out for a few weeks.
However, there was some positive news from Leinster HQ as Mike McCarthy and Joey Carbery were both fine, suffering from no more than cramp last Friday night. In addition, Rhys Ruddock had returned to full training having recovered from his quad injury.
The final update from the Edinburgh encounter was in relation to centre Rory O’Loughlin who injured his AC joint (shoulder) midway through the first half. He is undergoing further assessment this week before a final decision will be made on his inclusion or otherwise.
Long-term absentees Tom Daly and Sean Cronin were encouragingly back on the pitch today away from the main group, as they both look to work their way back from knee and hamstring injuries respectively.