| 9.3°C Dublin

Ross comeback a boost for Blues

LEINSTER coach Joe Schmidt could be in line for a rare piece of good news as prop Mike Ross battles his way back from a calf injury ahead of the province's Magners League opener at Glasgow Warriors on Friday night.

Out-and-out tighthead Ross could be in line for a quick recall from an injury sustained in the 41-6 friendly loss to London Wasps last Friday week. A decision will be made following his input into training this afternoon.

The former Harlequins anchorman, out of favour with former coach Michael Cheika, should have no excuses in the months ahead as incumbent Stan Wright (Achilles) has already been ruled out of action for a minimum six-month period.

With the permanent exit of CJ van der Linde and the 'not ready yet' sign hanging over the heads of others, Ross will have the right to earn the accolade that followed him from the Guinness Premiership as a sturdy scrummager.


The Irish Rugby Football Union could also be willing to release two unidentified Ireland internationals out of the captivity that is their strength and conditioning pre-season, depending on the outcome of fitness tests.

For sure, Leinster's newly upgraded skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy is well aware of the supreme test of character that the Warriors will present at their tightly constructed Firhill ground.

"I think that Glasgow will give us a very big test. They play a nice brand of rugby, they've got some serious ball carriers and they play with a lot of width so, because of that, they will pose a threat," said Murphy.

"They're a reasonably settled side and they'll be throwing everything at us on Friday night."


Australian Shaun Berne (Achilles) is expected to return to action some time in October as valuable back-up at out-half and inside centre.

Club captain Leo Cullen (shoulder), prop Wright and flanker Kevin McLaughlin (shoulder/knee) remain sidelined for the medium-to-long term at a time when Schmidt needs all hands on deck.

However, front rowers Heinke van der Merwe and trialist Simon Shawe, and locks Ed O'Donoghue and twice-capped Argentinean Mariano Galarza have settled in quickly.

"We have definitely taken a step forward this week and it's about stepping up," added Murphy.

"We're in a situation where we're playing for points now. So, we just have to do the business on Friday night.

"The new players have settled in very well and the one thing you can say about Leinster over the past few years is that there are no airs and graces when anyone comes in.

"Everyone's treated the same. There's good camaraderie between the players and I think that the young guys have settled in well after a steep learning curve in the first two matches."