Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster has given an injury update today ahead of next Sunday’s mouth-watering Champions Cup semi-final against Clermont Auvergne in Lyon (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Irish time).
In his update, Stuart Lancaster confirmed that Mike McCarthy, who has been capped 75 times by Leinster and 19 times by Ireland, will miss the rest of the season with back and elbow problems.
The 35-year-old lock had surgery in recent days on a disc injury in his back and although recovering well, he will not be back in time for the end of season run-in. He is also seeking further intervention for an injury to his elbow.
As a result, McCarthy has played his last game for the province having confirmed last month that he is joining French club Narbonne in the summer. The London-born second row won a PRO12 title with Leinster in his first season in 2013/14, lining out in the number 5 jersey in the 34-12 final win against Glasgow Warriors.
In other injury news, Lancaster explained that Adam Byrne and Dominic Ryan both came through the PRO12 derby victory over Connacht showing no ill-effects from the hamstring and knee injuries that had kept them out of contention recently. Both players are available for selection this week.
However, Dave Kearney will miss the semi-final trip to Lyon this week with an ankle injury. The 27-year-old is due to have further scans later this week to assess the full extent of the injury.
“I was gutted for Dave really because what people don’t see is the work he has put in to get fit again,” admitted Lancaster. “The injury, the recovery, the rehab and the time on his own with the physios and strength & conditioning coaches. I personally was gutted for him because I haven’t really worked for him over the last 12 months. It’s going to keep him out for a few weeks now and it’s a real shame for him.
“He’s devastated really, he had put so much hard work in and he was fighting to get in that European squad and now he’s back on the physio bed. He’ll be back though, he’s still a young player and there’s a long way to go in his career.”
In better news for Leo Cullen’s men, Cathal Marsh and Bryan Byrne both return to training this week after quad and calf issues, and Jack Conan is expected to train following a neck injury picked up in the win over the Ospreys. There was no update on Rob Kearney (knee and bicep), Jamie Heaslip (back) or Jordi Murphy (ACL).
Looking forward to next weekend’s clash with Clermont, Lancaster added: “I just think the belief that we have got in the team, the quality of players that we have got…we have got a lot of players here who, hopefully during the course of the week, will be announced as Lions. You’ve got quite a few in the mix, really.
“You’ve got a lot of international players and a lot of talented young players who perhaps haven’t played in these big European games but have demonstrated consistently this season that they can step up. We certainly believe we can do well in this game.”