Sunday 25 February 2018

Henshaw set to return next week

Robbie Henshaw. Photo: PA
Robbie Henshaw. Photo: PA
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Robbie Henshaw has given Leinster an early season boost by declaring himself fit to return to action for the province next week against Edinburgh.

The Ireland centre had been rated as a doubt for the early part of the season after tearing his pectoral muscle on the Lions tour in June, but he has recovered and is ready to play at the RDS.

Coach Stuart Lancaster will return from South Africa to begin preparing the non-travelling players for next week's clash and it seems likely that a number of the Lions will make their seasonal debuts a week out from the Aviva Stadium meeting with Munster.

Henshaw's first outing of the season had been expected to be a little later but, his return is a significant boost to the Blues' backline options.

"It will be 12 weeks on Monday. Everything has gone to plan. There were no setbacks or hiccups," he said.

Coach Leo Cullen is likely to welcome Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park back into the team to face the Cheetahs when he announces his line-up today.

The New Zealanders missed last Saturday's win over the Southern Kings, but having secured visas they arrived in Cape Town on Sunday and are likely to feature in Bloemfontein.

Meanwhile, the PRO14 expansion into the South African market is in danger of being further tarnished after local groups called for a boycott of the Southern Kings' home fixtures.

The Port Elizabeth-based side were unable to attract a crowd of more than 3,000 to their first home fixture in the new competition against Leinster, don't have a sponsor, and are yet to win a game.

The Rugby Transformation Coalition has called for a fan and club boycott of the franchise who came under South African Rugby Union (SARU) control earlier this year.

The organisation want the ownership to be transferred back to the Eastern Province Union, claiming the ownership model breaches the union's constitution.

SARU president Mark Alexander pleaded with fans not to heed the calls in an attempt to prevent further damage being done to the Kings' fragile brand.

"I am sure that the one thing the EP rugby public wants above all else is a successful and vibrant Southern Kings team of which they can be proud performing in the Guinness Pro14," he said.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport