Sunday 15 September 2019

Leinster hope to have Rob Kearney fit for Connacht after he misses out on Bath game

Rob Kearney during Leinster Rugby squad training
Rob Kearney during Leinster Rugby squad training

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Leinster hope to have Rob Kearney fit for next week’s game against Connacht after the full-back was ruled out of tomorrow’s fixture with Bath with injury.

The Ireland star picked up what Leo Cullen described as a “knock” in last weekend’s win at the Rec. Leinster were unwilling to provide any further detail on the problem.

The 32-year-old recently sat out the defeat in Toulouse with a quad problem and Ireland's win over Argentina with a shoulder issue.

Johnny Sexton has overcome his calf problem to captain the team, while Rory O’Loughlin comes in for Noel Reid and Jack Conan replaces Rhys Ruddock in the back-row as Dan Leavy moves to blindside flanker.

Although Josh van der Flier and Tadhg Furlong didn't take part in today's Captain's Run at the Aviva Stadium, the duo are both expected to play.

And Cullen is hoping another week together will help his team improve their performance after edging Bath in the game last week.

"Rob picked up a knock in the game so didn't come through the week so that's why we made that change," Cullen said.

"Rory and Noel, a pretty close call last week so we make a change there. It's good to change things up slightly.

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"With Rhys and Dan, Jack Conan was nursing a knock going into last week so he comes back into start.

"The four of those games have been very competitive so there's not much in the selections there.

"Rhys will offer good impact off the bench as well. We're blessed that we have the quality there.

"We discussed about potentially bringing other guys in as well to freshen things up but it's trying to get the balance.

"We're different to a lot of other teams as we've a challenge trying to build a bit of cohesion at various different stages.

"For the most part, we've kept it pretty similar and I think that will hopefully we'll be able to build on some of the good things that we produced last week. But there were plenty of parts of the performance that probably frustrated us a little bit.

"Bath played well, very strong and physical.

"Overall, we try to have a bit more cohesion in selection. There's lots of moving parts so it can be a tricky challenge for us at this time of year.

"We were pleased to get a win at Bath, that was the most important thing, and for us now we try to really drill into the performance part and how we can improve as a group.

"We've seen over the years, the back-to-back games, just because you win away doesn't automatically guarantee any success the following week. We've had to work hard as a group this week to ensure we're better."

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