Cullen coy on Sean O'Brien timeline as he backs Jordan Larmour to thrive in Europe
Leo Cullen was not able to put a definitive timeline on Sean O'Brien's recovery from the hip operation he underwent this week but he hopes the flanker will be able to play a part in Ireland's Six Nations campaign.
The Leinster coach revealed that the Tullow flanker had gone under the knife to try and address the issue that has kept him out since the back-to-back wins over Exeter last month, with Adam Byrne also getting a procedure on his knee.
O'Brien will miss the remaining Champions Cup pool games for his province and is now a major doubt for next month's Six Nations games against France and Italy.
And Cullen was unable to provide any solace for Ireland fans about the Lion's prognosis.
"He's a great leader in the team and hopefully he won't be out too long. Had a small procedure done so hopefully it won't be too long," he said, before being asked if the Six Nations was a possibility.
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"Hopefully so, it's hard to put a timeline on it. He had a small procedure done on Wednesday.
"We'll see how he comes through, he shouldn't be a million miles away."
Cullen was speaking ahead of his side's crucial clash with Glasgow Warriors at the RDS on Sunday and having selected the exciting Jordan Larmour for the game he is hoping the young flier is able to continue his excellent form.
Probably something similar he brought over the Christmas period," he said when asked what he hopes Larmour can bring to the table.
"If he could score a try like he did at Thomond Park again early in the game that would be helpful. And similar to what he did against Ulster as well!
"He's a very exciting talent and offers a lot to the attack of the team. He's gone about his business well and look forward to see how he goes.
"Jordan is very good in terms of there's constant feedback after every single game and session.
"He's very steady in his approach and he's working away at a number of things. He's a young player coming into the team, of course he's got things to get better at. But he's starting off in a pretty good place.
"He's been excellent. He comes in and is very competitive naturally and wants to get better. It's a pleasure to coach those type of players."
Captain Isa Nacewa says the young gun doesn't need any additional help or advice ahead of his first European start.
"He has no boundaries in the way he think, he just gets out there no matter what XV are in front of him and plays," he said.
"That's what's exciting, you've seen his electric talent early in the year and you've seen that through the way he attacks; he's really positive, he bounces around the place. You really feed off that.