Monday 24 July 2017

Cullen eases fears as Lions duo set to be fit for Pro12 title run-in

 

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leo Cullen has eased fears surrounding the fitness of Lions duo Sean O'Brien and Robbie Henshaw as both are set to play a part in the Guinness PRO12 run-in.

O'Brien missed Leinster's Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Clermont on Sunday with a hamstring issue while Henshaw suffered a rib injury late on.

The Tullow flanker has had problems with his hamstring over the past 18 months and despite the fact that he injured his other one last week, Leinster are hopeful that he will return to face Ulster in two weeks.

The latest setback will not in any way put his Lions tour in jeopardy but Cullen admitted that he would not rush O'Brien back to action.

"His other hamstring flared up," Cullen explained. "With his history it's important that we try and take care of him. He's back running but it's unlikely (he will play) this week."

Casualty

Henshaw was the biggest casualty from the defeat in Lyon as his rib injury is understood to have caused him quite a bit of discomfort on the flight home.

The centre will not be involved against Glasgow on Friday night but like O'Brien, Cullen is confident that Henshaw will be fit in time for Leinster's Pro12 semi-final on May 19.

Rob Kearney, however, looks to have played his last game of the campaign as he recovers from bicep and knee surgery. Dave Kearney (ankle) went under the knife last week and will not feature again this season.

Cullen remained coy on whether Jamie Heaslip (back) would play a part in the next few weeks, admitting: "He's still a bit away yet. We'll see how guys react post surgery. You give them time frames; six to eight weeks, sometimes that turns into 10 weeks."

Leinster returned to training yesterday, just 24 hours after they were dumped out of Europe and Cullen was still ruing his side's slow start to the game.

"There are 100 things floating in my mind. Definitely from our end as coaches maybe we could have done things differently."

Irish Independent

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