Boost for Leinster as Wright returns to add 'steel'
LEINSTER have been boosted by the news that Stan Wright should be back fit for Saturday's Magners League visit to Cardiff Blues.
The Cook Islander has been key to Leinster's efforts over the past number of seasons, but has been out since August with an Achilles injury.
Coach Joe Schmidt drafted in New Zealander Clint Newland as temporary cover, while Mike Ross has prospered with the run of games afforded to him in his rival's absence.
Wright's return will boost the province's options ahead of April's Heineken Cup clash with Leicester.
With Ross now a first-choice international, Wright's recovery will also help Leinster's Magners League campaign as they look to improve on last week's narrow victory over Aironi.
Forwards coach Jono Gibbes was delighted to welcome Wright back.
"Physically, Stan's in great nick," he said. "He has been so disciplined in his rehab and he has done everything that he possibly could to present himself back in the best possible shape, so it's a credit to him.
"Mentally, he's pretty hungry. I know how excited and keen he is to get involved and he adds leadership, experience and a lot of enthusiasm. It will be great to have his presence back on the playing field because he's a good character (who provides) a bit of steel for our pack." After almost suffering a shock defeat to the winless Italians last week, Gibbes wants a huge improvement against the Blues.
"It's a crucial game for us and the squad will have a point to prove," he said.
"Everyone was disappointed with the Aironi game. There's plenty to work on."
Shane Horgan is still out with a knee injury, but Shaun Berne is back in contention, and Leinster hope a number of their international contingent may be released.
There was bad news for Ireland U-20 international Brendan Macken, who broke his collarbone on his debut last week.