Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey spoke to media at Leinster HQ in UCD yesterday and gave an update on the injury front after the bruising Champions Cup encounter with Montpellier.
While Girvan Dempsey gave positive updates on a number of players from that game, there was further good news in relation to Dan Leavy and Richardt Strauss who have both made significant progress with their ankle and knee injuries respectively.
He confirmed that both players would return to training this week ahead of Glasgow Warriors. Hooker Strauss even came through 40 minutes of British & Irish Cup action against Doncaster Knights last Saturday.
Dempsey said that captain Isa Nacewa was withdrawn during the first half against Montpellier with an ankle injury but that the initial scan was positive. He will be assessed further as the week goes on.
The former Leinster and Ireland full-back also confirmed that James Ryan – a late replacement for Scott Fardy who had to withdraw on the morning of the Champions Cup opener – came through his first game back from a foot injury with no issues and would train as normal this week.
Mentioning European debutant Ryan, Dempsey said: “It was brilliant to see the young players step up to the mark across the board. I thought James Ryan was phenomenal. The whole forward pack was excellent, they really stood up to a very, very big Montpellier pack and gave our backs some ball that we could play off.
“Likewise the backs, there was a few guys getting their first European start, like Barry Daly on the wing. I though he was excellent across the board, in defence and took his try really well.”
There was also an update on the players that missed out on selection for the 24-17 bonus point victory over Montpellier. Dempsey confirmed that Rory O’Loughlin’s dead leg was slower to recover than hoped but that Jonathan Sexton has responded well to treatment for his own dead leg injury from the Munster match.
He was also hopeful that Sean O’Brien (calf) would make further progress this week and that Cathal Marsh would train as normal having missed out on selection last week with an adductor strain.
Previewing the Champions Cup round 2 trip to Glasgow Warriors, the Leinster backs coach admitted: “We can’t afford to give Glasgow the opportunities that we gave Montpellier because they’re clinical, particularly at home, they’ve scored in the region of 30-odd points every home game this season.
“They still have that Glasgow mentality (under new head coach Dave Rennie), playing with pace and an offloading game, a quick tempo. They are very tough at the breakdown, they’re clinical off turnover ball and counter attacks.
“It’s a huge test. Glasgow are a quality side and they’re on a high. If you look at the game against Exeter, going into the last six or seven minutes it was 17-15 and Exeter scored late on to take it away from Glasgow.
“They hadn’t lost prior to that. They are very tough at home. We’ve got to make sure that you are very accurate in your set piece, very accurate when you have the ball, don’t turn it over and don’t give it up cheaply.”