Kearney targets November return
Rob Kearney is refusing to rule out a return from his latest injury setback in time for Ireland's November series. The full-back damaged his hamstring in the first half of Leinster's win over Cardiff two weeks ago and although it was initially feared that he would be ruled out for up to eight weeks, Kearney revealed that he was already "recovering very quickly".
The 31-year-old has been plagued by injuries in recent years and last season started more games for Ireland (7) than he managed with Leinster (6).
In Leinster's last campaign, Kearney didn't complete a full 80 minutes - the last time he has done so was in April 2016 against Edinburgh.
The Louth native missed the majority of last year after injuring his knee early on against Glasgow in September before a bicep injury required surgery and more time on the sidelines.
But he has issued a positive update on his fitness and insisted that a return in time for Ireland's three November internationals could still be on the cards.
"Initially it wasn't but I've been recovering very quickly over the last 10 days, an end-of-October for a return has not been ruled out," Kearney explained.
Asked if he would rather take an extended period out in an effort to prolong his season, Kearney said:
"When we're sitting here having that chat and we're all smart people, that sounds like the most logical thing - just take a couple of weeks to get yourself back but it just doesn't work like that.
"When you're ready to play, you want to play. If you're undercooked and you're being given the opportunity, you take it. It means you're not going to play as well as maybe you can. You still do it."
Kearney revealed that he had felt his hamstring in the build-up to the Cardiff game and even had a scan on it but when it showed up clear, his determination to finally put a run of games together cost him another spell out.
"My leg got stuck in the ground and I got nudged and my whole body buckled forward a little bit," he recalled.
"So there was an incident but there's no smoke without fire. I wasn't feeling superb during the week and I was complaining of a little bit of hamstring soreness so it was probably a combo of the two.
"It's easier said than done (to sit out the game). I got a scan on the Tuesday and the scan came back clear. If I pulled out of every game that I wasn't feeling a hundred per cent fit for, I'd have missed out on 100 games."
Meanwhile, Munster have signed 28-year-old lock Mark Flanagan on a three-month loan deal from Saracens.
The former Leinster and Ireland U-20s player, who is a cousin of Devin Toner, will provide cover for Munster's injured trio Gerbrandt Grobler, Darren O'Shea and Dave O'Callaghan.
With Tadhg Beirne set to arrive in Limerick from the Scarlets next season, Munster's second-row options will again be boosted.