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Leinster will not have Healy or O'Brien at Wasps

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Leinster's Cian Healy is available for selection again after recovering from surgery on his hamstring. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Cian Healy is available for selection again after recovering from surgery on his hamstring. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Cian Healy is available for selection again after recovering from surgery on his hamstring. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Neither Cian Healy nor Sean O'Brien will be risked against Wasps in The Champions Cup.

That is the definitive decision taken by coach Matt O'Connor, even though Healy is almost ready to resume from a serious injury after the loose-head tore the hamstring off the bone back in September.

Tullow's O'Brien will also be held back until the Newport-Gwent Dragons on February 15 in his recovery from a shoulder reconstruction.

This means Jack Conan looks nailed on to join captain Jamie Heaslip in the back row, with O'Connor left to choose between the relative merits of Jordi Murphy, Dominic Ryan and Shane Jennings.

The experience and organisational nous of Jennings, at least off the bench, could come in handy against Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson.

Ireland flanker Rhys Ruddock and Springbok back-three exponent Zane Kirchner have been aimed towards the Dragons, while centre Ben Te'o engaged in training, despite taking a sharp blow to his ribs against Cardiff two weekends ago.

Full-back Rob Kearney, prop Tadhg Furlong and Michael Bent returned to full training yesterday, having sat out Monday's session, to be available to combat Wasps.

Loose-head Bent will have to be treated with extreme care as he has become what O'Connor described as "invaluable" to Leinster in light of the injury to Healy and the suspension of Jack McGrath.

Connacht tight-head Nathan White has signed a two-year contract extension as he bids to make a late charge towards Ireland's Six Nations squad.

"It was tough being out injured for the last two months, but I've worked really hard to come back fully fit and I can't wait to get back playing again," said White.

Thirty-three year-old White is expected to make a strong case for his international debut now that he has returned from an elbow injury.

He has been included in the Connacht squad to travel to La Rochelle for the final round of The Challenge Cup this Saturday.

Fellow props Ronan Loughney and Finlay Bealham have also signed two-year contract extensions to stay on at the province.


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