Tuesday 20 March 2018

Back problem threatening to rule full-back out of Ulster showdown

Hugh Farrelly

ROB KEARNEY was at the centre of an injury scare last night with a back problem threatening his participation in tomorrow's Heineken Cup showdown with Ulster at Twickenham.

Leinster are hoping to name him at full-back in their starting team today but the back injury which ruled him out of last weekend's Pro12 semi-final win over Glasgow is being closely monitored, with the squad due to have a run-out in the London stadium this afternoon.

If Kearney was to be ruled out, his brother Dave would come into the back three on the wing, with Isa Nacewa switching to full-back and Fergus McFadden likely to be on the other wing in the absence of the injured Luke Fitzgerald.

Brian O'Driscoll was also ruled out of the Glasgow match after a twisted knee required swift surgery to repair cartilage damage but seven days after going under the knife, the inspirational centre is set to be named alongside Gordon D'Arcy in the Leinster midfield.

D'Arcy had to receive nine stitches to a head wound following last weekend's Glasgow clash but is set to play while, in the forwards, Kevin McLaughlin is pushing hard for a place in the back-row with his extra height an advantage against an excellent Ulster line-out.

Ulster also name their team today and are set to welcome back New Zealand World Cup-winning prop John Afoa into the front-row, after the tight-head missed the semi-final win over Edinburgh due to suspension.

Chris Henry is also set to resume his place on the openside flank after being ruled out of the semi-final due to an ankle injury.

Irish Independent

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