No new Leinster recruits despite injuries -- Gibbes
Published 23/10/2012 | 05:00
Jono Gibbes insists Leinster are not looking to add to their squad, despite the province being hit hard by injuries so far this season.
Leinster recruited successfully last season as they secured Brad Thorn on a short-term deal and he played a key role as they secured back-to-back Heineken Cups.
In previous years, they have enjoyed the services of Rocky Elsom and Nathan Hines as they pushed for European honours and, despite Gibbes' admission that it "would be nice to have another loose forward available", he doesn't foresee any new faces joining.
"I wouldn't have thought so," said the Leinster forwards coach and former All Black, when asked about the possibility of new additions. "It's a tough start, but we've a few guys coming back like Seanie (O'Brien). Rhys (Ruddock) is a lot closer, Dave Kearney's getting closer and Eoin O'Malley is still to come back.
"There's a few guys coming back and if that's all going to plan we should be okay."
After featuring in the British and Irish Cup last weekend, Ruddock is set to be named on the bench for the visit of Cardiff in the Pro12 on Saturday (kick-off 6.30), while new second-row Tom Denton is also set to be available again.
Rob Kearney and Quin Roux are also expected to return to action in the next fortnight while Gordon D'Arcy came through last weekend with no ill effects. However, Sean O'Brien won't feature until December as he continues to recover from a hip injury.
Another hip injury victim, Dave Kearney was on standby for last weekend's Heineken Cup win over Scarlets and, having not played since last season's Pro12 final, he is likely to see action this weekend.
Leinster's absentees have seen the likes of Damian Browne thrust into regular first-team action. The former Connacht and Brive lock started Leinster's last three games and he has been enjoying the regular run in the side.
"I have absolutely no complaints," he smiled, when asked about his heavy schedule. "I'll take three weeks like that any time. It's great to get a bit of consistency and a bit of regular game time like that. It helps me a lot with my form, so it's nice.
"A lot of our game is built around work rate and when you are playing week in, week out, you are most used to giving and taking the hits and you recover quicker, so it does make a big difference."
And while Leinster took two wins from their opening Heineken Cup games, Gibbes agrees they are still a little off as they turn their attentions to domestic action.
Leinster lie just inside the play-off places in fourth position in the Pro12, having won four of their six games so far.
"There were some positives to the tough results away from home that we really needed, but certainly there's still room to improve. There are errors that we're making and some discipline issues that are costing us a bit of flow," he said.
"Cardiff -- they've had a bit of turnaround in their roster -- but they've still got a bit of experience, some class individuals, so I wouldn't have thought the pressure's off at all. We've got to keep building and try to step up again."