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Blues’ early Christmas

IT IS understood that Leinster coach Joe Schmidt is set to return flanker Sean O’Brien and left wing Luke Fitzgerald to club action against Glasgow Warriors in the PRO12 League on November 23.

ASSUMING these two Ireland internationals continue on their pathway to full fitness, they will have the Glasgow match and a home fixture against Italians Zebre on December 1 to sharpen their readiness for the monstrous Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup on December 9.

The explosive momentum of O’Brien allied to the game-breaking natural talent of Fitzgerald would provide an edge Leinster's defence and attack have been lacking this season.

The Tullow Tank has to have an operation to remove cartilage from his hip in the summer and Fitzgerald is on the mend from surgery on his neck in May.

Wing Dave Kearney (hip) should be able to play a part against the Cardiff Blues in the Pro12 League match at the RDS on Saturday, although his brother Rob (back) and second row Quinn Roux (chest) are still struggling to convince the medical staff of their availability.

The good news keeps on coming too. Centre Eoin O’Malley (knee) and another flanker, Dominic Ryan (ankle), are also due back before the end of November.

Rhys Ruddock (hip) made his belated start to the season for |Leinster A in their last-minute defeat by Pontypridd in the British & Irish Cup at Sardis Road on Saturday.

The former Ireland U20 captain still has a way to go to reach full fitness, judging by the way he lost the ball in contact against Ponty.

This will come in time.

In addition, New Zealand signings Michael Bent (Taranaki), a tight-head prop, and Andrew Goodman (Tasman), a useful utility back, are also due for arrival into the province later this week.

They should be match fit and |ready to play their part away to |the Ospreys in the Pro12 on Sunday week while the Ireland internationals prepare for the November series.


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