Thursday 18 January 2018

Injuries keep out O'Brien and Moore

Leinster's Sean O'Brien. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Leinster's Sean O'Brien. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

While, Leinster are set to be boosted by the return of Rob Kearney for Friday's visit of Edinburgh, Sean O'Brien and Marty Moore will again miss out with hamstring injuries.

Kearney missed three of Ireland's Six Nations games, also with a hamstring problem, and hasn't played for Leinster since the away game against Wasps back in January.

The full-back is expected to come straight back into the starting XV as Leinster look to maintain their place at the top of the Pro12 table but they will have to do so without the services of O'Brien and Moore who are both still a couple of weeks away from a return, according to defence coach Kurt McQuilkin.

"Without a game last weekend it gives those guys a few extra days to come right. Sean O'Brien has made good progress but he's still about two weeks off," he said.

"(Johnny) Sexton, we took him off in the Munster game because he's got a few bumps and bruises from the Six Nations so we were just making sure he's okay and he's working away.

"Marty Moore is close to coming back, which is a boost for us and Jack Conan is still in a boot so he's just rehabbing away. We want to make sure that they're fully bang on right when they come back and we've made sure that we haven't rushed them. There's no need to rush them and when we get them back we want to get them on the track and raring to go."

With the huge amount of game time that the majority of Leinster's international players have had this season, they have understandably been cautious about rushing some of their stars back from injury.

And with a gruelling summer Test series lying ahead in South Africa, McQuilkin admitted that in terms of giving certain players a rest, that power lies completely with Joe Schmidt and his backroom staff.

"It's a massive season for them, isn't it? That's down to the powers that be, Joe Schmidt and those boys to make the decisions." McQuilkin maintained. "With the World Cup, the Six Nations and all of their club footy too it's been a hell of a beast of a season for them and it does take its toll.

"I guess that's out of my realm. They'll all be eager to wear the green jersey and mad keen for selection but I guess that's the plight of a professional player these days."

Leinster have the best defensive record in the Pro12 this season which has seen McQuilkin come in for plenty of plaudits but the Kiwi knows that it won't count for much unless it is maintained until the end of the campaign.

"It's something that you can draw confidence from but it's something that you have to turn up every week. You can't sit back and say, 'Ah well, you know we're top of the league defensively'. Once you take your eye off the ball that's when you get into a bit of trouble."

Irish Independent

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