Thursday 19 October 2017

Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney ruled out of Leinster's Champions Cup quarter final

Rob Kearney, left, and Jamie Heaslip
Rob Kearney, left, and Jamie Heaslip
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster coach Leo Cullen has backed his squad to overcome the loss of Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip for next week's Champions Cup game against Wasps.

Both Ireland internationals were forced out of last week's win over England with injury and have undergone surgery as a result.

Heaslip suffered a lower back injury against Wales, but was named in the team to face the Six Nations champions and failed to get through the warm-up.

Kearney damaged his knee on the Tuesday before the final Championship match and has been ruled out for between four-to-six weeks after going under the knife.

The timeline on Heaslip is not yet known after he had his first operation as a professional rugby player this morning after a specialist identified the problem as a disc issue.

"It's definitely a loss, if you think what's coming up, but that's the nature of the business we're in. It's another chance for the guys to come in," Cullen said.

"The experience they have will hopefully stand to the group, particularly as you're into the business end of the season now.

"It's never an ideal time, but we'll see how they are, see how they come through and hopefully get them back as quickly as possible.

"It's hard to be definitive with time lines. Jamie just had a procedure done with his back this morning. He had a disc issue, so they come on quite quickly.

"He trained the week of the England game, pulled up in the warm-up, right at the end, and he was in a bit of discomfort at the start of the week.

"So he saw a specialist, saw someone again yesterday and had a procedure done this morning. So that rules him out for the next number of weeks.

"When we get a report we'll find out exactly how long that will be, but, it sounds like they're reasonably standard procedures.

"Rob had an issue with his knee. It happened early in the week - on the Tuesday i think - so we've just been managing him.

"He had seen a few different people, had a procedure during the week after seeing a specialist on Tuesday, I think. That's probably four-to-six weeks for his knee, so we'll see how he comes through that."

Leinster take on Cardiff Blues tomorrow afternoon and Cullen has recalled Ireland internationals Luke McGrath and Dan Leavy to his side, as he welcomes captain Isa Nacewa back into the side for the first time since January.

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