Tuesday 16 January 2018

Leinster face anxious wait on O'Driscoll and Nacewa

Brian O'Driscoll gets past the tackle of Keith Earls
Brian O'Driscoll gets past the tackle of Keith Earls
David Kelly

David Kelly

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL and Isa Nacewa could miss the opening match of Leinster's Heineken Cup hat-trick title tilt as the champions' injury list reached crisis point after their bruising win over Munster.

O'Driscoll -- who was linked with an unlikely move to Australia over the weekend -- sprained an ankle, while Nacewa suffered a haematoma. They were joined in the growing casualty unit by Kevin McLaughlin, who hyper-extended an elbow after just 12 minutes, and Andrew Conway, who suffered a neck injury after a tackle on Simon Zebo.

The latter pair will also face an anxious wait before Joe Schmidt names his side to face Exeter Chiefs in Round 1 at the RDS on Saturday.

"It's pretty hard to get Isa Nacewa and Brian O'Driscoll off the field but they were very much compromised in their running," reported Schmidt. "It's a case of waiting and seeing. We might have to wait until the end of the week before we get clarity on whether they'll be able to run well enough to be involved in the game.

"There's a fair bit of swelling for Kevin at the moment so we have to wait for that to settle down to do a scan, which may take until Tuesday or Wednesday. Andrew took a stinger but he's not too bad in the changing-room. Hopefully that will mean he's okay."

With a dozen players already on the injured list, Leinster's defence of their title already looks badly compromised. However, Schmidt did report that Rob Kearney could be in line to return next week, even though this was said in hope rather than expectation.

Munster coach Rob Penney will not rush Paul O'Connell into action as they prepare for a daunting trip to Paris to play Racing Metro, while he faces a big decision at out-half after Ronan O'Gara was hauled off prematurely for a second successive week.

"When Paul is ready, he'll be ready," said Penney. "If we put a time limit on it and he doesn't make it, then that puts extra pressure on him. He's getting close."

Irish Independent

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