Tuesday 20 March 2018

Leinster not fixated with winning big – Easterby

Conor George

Conor George

Leinster manager Guy Easterby refused to countenance any speculation about the province obsessing over a substantial win against Clermont at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday when he gave an update on the progress of the Heineken Cup holders' injured warriors yesterday.

Leinster would, of course, love to overhaul leaders Clermont in the Pool 5 table but it was a case of first things first for Easterby.

"There's a lot been made about the five points between us, but we cannot become sidetracked by that," said Easterby. "We have to go out and win the game, whatever happens after that, so be it."

Easterby was referring to the possibility of Leinster not winning their pool and still qualifying for the knock-out phase of the competition as one of the two best runners-up.

"Those two spots are also available. As I said, though, we'll go out to win the game and see what happens then."


Meanwhile, Easterby is confident that the defending Heineken Cup champions will have a fully fit squad to choose from for Saturday's return game in the Aviva Stadium (3.40).

There were fears that flanker Kevin McLaughlin might be a worry after a fierce clash of heads with team-mate Shane Jennings left him looking the worse for wear.

He will undergo tests to determine whether or not he is suffering from concussion, but Easterby expects him to be fit for Saturday. He is also confident of having prop Heinke van der Merwe ready after he missed out at the weekend.

"It was a fairly physical contest but we've come out of it alright and we'd be fairly confident of having a full deck to choose from," said Easterby.

"He will follow the protocols in place for anyone who gets a bang like that but we expect him to be available."

David Kearney and Eoin O'Malley could return to the panel this weekend as both continue to work hard on their respective rehabilitations, while Luke Fitzgerald remains on course for a possible return to action over the Christmas period.

"Luke is a couple of weeks away," Easterby said. "It's a case now of getting the go-ahead from the specialist, basically. He's progressing well."

Irish Independent

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