Thursday 23 January 2020

Leinster need time to click back into gear -- Easterby

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

LEINSTER were able to tap into the sunny mood around south Dublin yesterday as their injury fears were eased ahead of Saturday's trip to Thomond Park.

There were concerns about the front-row after the European champions lost two tight-head props to knocks during Friday's shock defeat to the Ospreys, but manager Guy Easterby hopes that Nathan White and Jamie Hagan will be available for the Munster clash.

First-choice No 3 Mike Ross should also be back from the injury he picked up in Ireland's defeat to England.

Hagan's rib cartilage injury initially looked serious, but has "settled well" according to former Ireland scrum-half Easterby, while the bang White took to his eye area should clear up in time.

Now, it is all about managing the players' workload.

Available

There are those who haven't played in months, some who had a three-week break before the Ospreys clash, others who trained with the international squad without really playing, and the Ireland stars who played four Six Nations Tests on successive weekends -- all should be available.

"The international guys have gone a long time without playing for Leinster and there are different systems in place for Ireland and Leinster," Easterby said.

"As much as they know them, it still takes that little bit of time to click back into them.

"I think Munster are exactly the same, they've got lads they need to get back in from the Six Nations as well.

"We both have massive games the following week in the European quarter-finals, so it's also an opportunity for people to put their hands up for selection."

Easterby was unable to provide an update on Luke Fitzgerald's contract situation, with the Ireland and Lions wing still in negotiations with the IRFU.

He did confirm that Leinster are in pursuit of a second-row for next season to replace the departed Steven Sykes and stop-gap Brad Thorn, and are hopeful of announcing a signing before the end of the season.

Irish Independent

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