Saturday 14 December 2019

Fresh injury scare for O'Brien rocks Leinster ahead of crunch European kick-off

David Kelly

David Kelly

Sean O'Brien, who is already recovering from ankle surgery, will visit a specialist this week to ascertain the nature of a shoulder problem.

Leinster remain hopeful that the Tullow man, whose surgery to remove a "loose body" from his ankle some time this month was only revealed by the province last week, will be fit enough to play some role in his side's opening brace of European Champions Cup games.

However, given the player's injury profile in recent times, their supporters will be sweating on the latest potential problem to emerge with the increasingly fragile flanker.

Leinster kick off their European campaign at home to in-form Wasps on October 19 before a trip to Castres seven days later. 

"The ankle is the main problem at the moment," confirmed Leinster and Ireland assistant coach Richie Murphy. "He has had a shoulder thing going on. I think he's going to see someone in relation to that this week."

Asked if O'Brien might be available for the beginning of their European campaign, Murphy was cautiously optimistic. Leinster are also hoping that Luke Fitzgerald's return may be imminent.

"I think it's possible that they both will take some part in those first two games in Europe but I wouldn't hang my hat on it," added Murphy.

"Sean is recovering well from having a loose body removed from his ankle. We're not sure on a return to play date at the moment."

Meanwhile, South African World Cup-winning coach Jake White has emerged as a contender to succeed David Humphreys as director of rugby at Ulster.

Interim appointment Les Kiss is due to return to his full-time role with Ireland before the province's European Champions Cup campaign begins on October 18.

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