Wednesday 26 April 2017

Leinster won't take any risks with Sexton as O'Brien set for return

The out-half injured his hamstring last week and missed the three-time champions’ opening win over Castres last weekend. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
The out-half injured his hamstring last week and missed the three-time champions’ opening win over Castres last weekend. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster will not take any risks with Johnny Sexton's fitness ahead of the Champions Cup clash with Montpellier on Sunday.

The out-half injured his hamstring last week and missed the three-time champions' opening win over Castres last weekend.

He will be given until Friday to prove his fitness after sitting out the team's light training session yesterday to focus on his rehabilitation.

Joey Carbery stood in and impressed in Saturday's 33-15 win, but the away trip to face an experienced side in an intimidating venue in the south of France is a different matter.

"We'll see how he gets to Friday, if he trains Friday there's a fair shot," scrum coach John Fogarty said yesterday.

"We're not going to take any risks with Johnny or any of our players. They'll go about their business in trying to prepare him to play; hopefully he gets there.

"We always knew we'd a capable guy with Joey, but he did a super job and at every stage Joey has taken it in his stride. He's a very calm kid and he's taken it very well.

"We know he can do a really good job. However, Johnny's a world-class No 10 who has done it on the highest stage and we want to make sure he returns to play in the right way and hopefully he can by Friday. We'll see."

Rhys Ruddock is definitely out after tearing his calf and his place may be taken by Sean O'Brien who got through 40 minutes for Leinster's 'A' side in their big win over Richmond on Saturday.

Tadhg Furlong is also unlikely to be involved after injuring his hamstring, meaning Mike Ross is likely to start with Michael Bent on the bench.

Mike McCarthy is fit again, while Dave Kearney has a shot at playing against Montpellier as Richardt Strauss is likely to make his return from a knee injury for the 'A' side against Nottingham.

Leinster will monitor O'Brien's response to his return to action before determining whether he is ready to step up to a full game against a physical side away from home.

"The nature of Sean's injury means we need to make sure that he's alright, that he can play, that he can take that sort of load over the two weeks. He's going from nothing to playing a full 40," Fogarty said.

"He did a good job, he feels well. There's a light session today, get him through tomorrow, Thursday's off and then Friday.

"We're hopeful he can get through the week and present with nothing, if he does that he's up for selection."

Montpellier have been dealt an injury blow with news that winger Benjamin Fall will be absent with a thigh injury, but Australian back Jessie Mogg should be available.

"We'll have to be better," Ross said. "They'll probably be a bit more composed than Castres were.

"A lot of the scrums in the Top 14 can turn into a bit of a mess, it's just go for it by whatever means necessary and the refs just go with it a lot of the time so we have to be ready for that ideology."

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