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Cullen: Cardiff Carry A Lot Of Threats

Cullen: Cardiff Carry A Lot Of Threats

Second row James Ryan (shoulder) is the only additional injury concern for Leinster ahead of their return to the RDS for Friday night’s GUINNESS PRO14 round 2 tussle with Cardiff Blues (kick-off 7.35pm).

Speaking about the challenge he expects from Cardiff, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said: “We look back at our two games against them last year, and they were two really, really close games. Saw a bit of their game against Exeter in pre-season, just a week before their opener, and they had a really impressive win and performance in that game.

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“They’re a well coached team with Danny Wilson, who has done a good job there I think. They have a lot of threats across their team – a lot of very, very dangerous, good attackers.

“We tried to prepare as best as we possibly could. They’ve obviously got a bit of an advantage in that they had an extra day’s recovery from last week (against Edinburgh), an extra day’s preparation. It’s been a pretty short week.”

An injury update from the Leinster camp today confirmed that a number of players are being assessed ahead of the team announcement for Cardiff on Thursday afternoon. Among them are Ireland backs Dave Kearney, who was not considered for the Dragons game due to a tight groin, and Fergus McFadden who injured his calf against Bath in pre-season.

Fellow internationals Jordi Murphy (jarred knee) and Jamie Heaslip, who returned to training last week following a lower back injury, will be assessed by the Leinster medical team, along with James Ryan, who took a knock to his shoulder on his senior debut against the Dragons, and Joey Carbery who flagged some tightness in his calf after the pre-season win over Bath.

Richardt Strauss has been slower to recover from a knee procedure than expected but is due to resume light training this week, while the unavailable for selection list also currently includes Peter Dooley (bicep), Bryan Byrne (knee), Tom Daly (knee), Peadar Timmins (calf), Noel Reid (hand), Robbie Henshaw (pectoral muscle), Jonathan Sexton (wrist and ankle), Tadhg Furlong (thumb), Sean O’Brien (shoulder) and Garry Ringrose (shoulder).

Cullen commented: “The players that were away with the Lions – Robbie had surgery, Tadhg Furlong had a procedure done on his thumb, Johnny’s hand is in a splint – issue with his ankle as well. Those guys are round 5 (against Edinburgh). Sean O’Brien the same, and Jack McGrath. They’ll be back in round 5, so they won’t be in the frame for South Africa (these next two weeks).

“Garry is making steady progress. He’s one of the guys who has had surgery over the course of the summer. He’s probably the one who’s going to come back last. Of the guys that were away on tour, Garry will be the last to come back in, I imagine.”