Wednesday 20 March 2019

Kearney and Heaslip in race to return for season finale while Conan faces fitness test ahead of Wasps

Rob Kearney, left, and Jamie Heaslip
Rob Kearney, left, and Jamie Heaslip
David Kelly

David Kelly

Josh van der Flier is on track to feature in this weekend's Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps at the Aviva Stadium as Leinster confirmed both Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney may struggle to feature again this season.

Both players underwent procedures on lower back and knee problems last week and there are fears that they may not be available again for Leinster unless they reach the final stages of either or both Pro12 and Champions Cup competitions.

Van der Flier missed the majority of the Six Nations after suffering an AC joint shoulder injury in the Pro 12 and, with Heaslip absent, the flanker's return is a huge boost.

Heaslip had a minor procedure on his lower back last Friday morning and will be assessed over the next number of weeks ahead of a definitive time-line on his return to play.

Captain Isa Nacewa showed no ill effects from his recent knee injury and will play, again a boost given Rob Kearney's woes.

Kearney had a procedure done last Tuesday after seeing a specialist and will be out for four to six weeks.

Sean Cronin is also destined to feature after his lengthy absence following his severe hamstring injury.

Rory O'Loughlin came through the weekend's Cardiff game with no issues after his return from a shoulder injury and will be available.

Dominic Ryan has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury and will be assessed further.

Jack Conan (calf), Zane Kirchner (hamstring) both missed the weekend outing and, while Kirchner is likely to be available, Conan faces a late fitness test.

Dave Kearney has stepped up his recovery from a toe injury and is due to return to full training this week.

Leinster have added Prop Ed Byrne, wing Barry Daly and centre Tom Daly to their European squad as competition rules allow quarter-finalists to add three players at this stage.

Ticket sales have already reached 47,500 for Saturday's clash.

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