Monday 22 October 2018

McGrath the main concern for Cullen ahead of Scarlets visit

Garry Ringrose, left, celebrates with team-mates Luke McGrath (centre) and Jordi Murphy after scoring Leinster's first try against Saracens. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Garry Ringrose, left, celebrates with team-mates Luke McGrath (centre) and Jordi Murphy after scoring Leinster's first try against Saracens. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Scrum-half Luke McGrath is the chief concern for Leinster coach Leo Cullen after limping off midway through the second-half of his side's quarter-final win over Saracens.

The win sets up a rematch with Guinness PRO14 champions Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in three weeks, with the game likely to be scheduled for Saturday, April 21.

McGrath's fitness is central to Cullen's plans, given their three-into-two selection scenario concerning their overseas signings.

Under the tournament rules, he can only pick two out of winger James Lowe, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park and versatile forward Scott Fardy.

Cullen's decision to pick Lowe ahead of Gibson-Park paid off yesterday as the Kiwi winger created their first try and scored their third.

If McGrathmisses out, then Gibson-Park would come back into the side, which would deprive Leinster of their game-breaker out wide.

Nick McCarthy gave a shaky performance when he replaced the Ireland scrum-half yesterday and it would be unlikely he would be given the No 9 jersey for such a big game given his inexperience.

Johnny Sexton came off with a dead leg, while Fergus McFadden injured his neck, but Cullen was less concerned by their issues.

Munster have selected their entire match-day 23 from Saturday's win over Toulon for their two-game tour of South Africa, with Calvin Nash, Dan Goggin, Brian Scott, Conor Oliver and Dave O'Callaghan completing the 28-man party for their PRO14 meetings with the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs.

The province will return in two weeks to go straight into their preparations for their meeting with Racing 92 in Bordeaux, which is expected to take place on Sunday, April 22.

Those fixtures will be confirmed in the coming days.

Munster squad for tour of South Africa: Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway, Alex Wootton, Darren Sweetnam, Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Dan Goggin, Ian Keatley, JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray, James Hart, Dave Kilcoyne, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, John Ryan, Brian Scott, Rhys Marshall, Niall Scannell, Billy Holland, Jean Kleyn, Gerbrandt Grobler, Peter O'Mahony, Jack O' Donoghue, Dave O'Callaghan, Conor Oliver, Robin Copeland, CJ Stander.

Irish Independent

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