Monday 10 December 2018

Blues hope to have big four fit as Fogarty hails departing Murphy

Scrum coach John Fogarty. Photo: Sportsfile
Scrum coach John Fogarty. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Leinster hope to have Johnny Sexton, Rob Kearney, Dan Leavy and Isa Nacewa fit and available for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 final against Scarlets (6.0), but Robbie Henshaw is expected to miss out with his knee issue.

The Athlone centre sported a knee brace at the RDS on Saturday and while Ireland hope to name him in their squad for the summer tour of Australia tomorrow, he is unlikely to have recovered from the injury suffered against Racing 92 a fortnight ago.

Sexton, Leavy and Kearney sat out the semi-final win over Munster last weekend, while Nacewa went off at half-time.

He has a calf problem but has also been playing through the pain barrier with a knee issue ahead of his retirement after this weekend's game.

Scrum coach John Fogarty says Nacewa is doing everything in his power to lead the side one last time at the Aviva Stadium.

"He's not worried about anything but this game," he said.

"For us, the performance of the team; it's really important that we have bodies who are able to offer on the day.

"We're hopeful that he can get through the week and we're hopeful that he can get on the field because he's incredibly important for us in terms of his leadership and obviously the physical things he can do on the pitch as well.

"He's going to be doing all he can, like he did last week, to get on the field because he loves this place and he's served it very, very well. So he wants to see it out.

"With Isa, Johnny and Dan, we're hopeful that they can get through the week. With Robbie I'd be a little bit more doubtful whether he can actually get through it.

"Dave Kearney has got back in the mix, which is great for Dave."

Scarlets skipper John Barclay misses the game after damaging his ankle and Achilles tendon in their semi-final win over Glasgow.

As well as Nacewa, Leinster will bid farewell to Jordi Murphy at the end of this season as he heads to Ulster.

When he signed a deal to join the northern province, the Ireland back-row was struggling to get into the starting XV but since announcing his departure he has started all of the big games and will be a big loss.

"Jordi has always been a really good pro," Fogarty said.

"(When he signed for Ulster) he was competing in a group of back-rowers and was on the other side of selection.

"He's proven himself to be really, really important to the group.

"He has that detail. He's said to me a few times, 'I will not be beaten on detail' and I think that's why Joe Schmidt loves him.

"He will take what he gets early in the week and he'll deliver those detail parts really, really well on the weekend. He has an influence then on the younger guys.

"It's a pity, on top of all of that Jordi is a good bloke. Jordi is from Leinster, this is his home and you're always a bit uncomfortable when you lose someone like Jordi."

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