Tuesday 23 January 2018

Cullen: Loss of Heaslip and Kearney a big blow

Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile
Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster have been stung by the news that Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney are out of next week's European Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps.

Indeed, should the province progress past the last eight, the experienced Ireland pair are unlikely to be fit for the semi-finals after both undergoing surgery this week.

Heaslip, who injured his back while playing against Wales but was deemed fit enough to be named in Joe Schmidt's starting XV against England and cried off in the warm-up, had an operation on a disc issue in his back yesterday.

Kearney suffered a knee injury in training last week and had an operation on Tuesday.

He will be out for between four and six weeks, while Heaslip's prognosis is not yet known but he is under pressure to be fit in time for the Lions tour in June.

"It's definitely a loss if you think what's coming up, but that's the nature of the business we're in," Leinster coach Leo Cullen said.

"It's another chance for the guys to come in. The experience they have will hopefully stand to the group, particularly as you're into the business end of the season now.

"It's never an ideal time, but we'll see how they are, see how they come through and hopefully get them back as quickly as possible"

Johnny Sexton, Seán Cronin, Jack Conan and Zane Kirchner are expected to be fit for the Aviva Stadium clash despite missing today's Pro12 meeting with Cardiff Blues.

Irish Independent

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