Sunday 17 December 2017

Mike Ross expected to return against Connacht but BOD doubtful

Mike Ross – pictured in Dublin yesterday – has revealed that he would like to play on for ‘three or four more years’
Mike Ross – pictured in Dublin yesterday – has revealed that he would like to play on for ‘three or four more years’
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MIKE ROSS looks set to return to the Leinster team to face Connacht on Saturday, but Brian O’Driscoll could miss out yet again.

A decision on both Ireland players’ fitness will be made on Friday morning ahead of the team announcement at lunch-time, but the tighthead prop looks the more likely candidate for selection for the inter-provincial clash.

Springbok Zane Kirchner looks set to make his debut for the province, while Andrew Goodman is also set for selection and Ian Madigan is likely to return to the No 10 jersey after missing out on the out-half slot to Jimmy Gopperth for the Heineken Cup clashes the last two weekends.

Australia international Lote Tuquiri misses out, while New Zealander Andrew Goodman is fit and available.

“Mike is progressing really well and it will come down to the wire on that. He is hitting his markers and doing well with his recovery, but it will come down to the last minute,” coach Richie Murphy said.

“Brian is in a similar boat, but is probably a little bit behind and again a last minute call will be made on that.

“With Mike, we’re optimistic he’ll play and he is looking pretty good, for Brian it is a case of wait and see.

“Lote is on his way back, but won’t make this week. He should make the following week. Andrew Goodman is back on the pitch, training. He is available. The other long term ones have no change, while no one who played at the weekend has any issues.”

Kirchner played a full part in South Africa’s Rugby Championship campaign and only landed in Dublin last week.

But Murphy says the full-back has settled in well to his new environment.

“Zane has actually started to fit in really well. He obviously is going to take some time to get used to how we do things, but you can see his talent in training this week and he is starting to stand out in the group and he is starting to settle in and get used to life in Dublin,” he added.

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