Sunday 25 February 2018

O'Brien sees specialist about ear problem

Leinster's Sean O'Brien sees ear specialist about inner ear issue
Leinster's Sean O'Brien sees ear specialist about inner ear issue
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Sean O'Brien's immediate future remains shrouded in doubt as he continues to struggle with an inner-ear issue.

The flanker is highly unlikely to be involved in either of Leinster's back-to-back Champions Cup ties against Toulon as he tries to get to the bottom of the vestibular impairment that has affected his balance since he suffered a concussion when playing against Wasps last month.

O'Brien met a specialist yesterday in the hope of determining the root of the problem, but even if he's cleared he still has to go through the return to play concussion protocols before taking the field.

Noel Reid and Luke McGrath are also out of action for Sunday's daunting trip to the Stade Felix Mayol, but Rob Kearney is among a host of internationals set to play against the European champions.

Leinster have faced Toulon twice in two years and took the big-spending French side to extra-time in last year's semi-final in Marseille.


Defence coach Kurt McQuilkin watched those games from afar back in New Zealand and is impressed by Bernard Laporte's collection of 'Galacticos', but he also believes that Leinster will not show any fear at the Stade Felix Mayol.

"You've got to take them for what they are, an individual group of very talented players and it's up to their management team to gel them together as a unit, they all possess pretty phenomenal skills," he said.

"They've all played international football and the guts of them have. It's a case of showing their threats, seeing what they're good at and looking at where we might be able to get a few yards out of them also. Across the board they're a pretty talented bunch. They've lost a few, Bakkies Botha, Ali Williams from their pack but they're pretty good with (Samu) Manoa and Gorgodze, but last year Leinster shut them down well.

"The biggest thing watching was the line speed from the previous time they played them in the European Cup, they shut them down and didn't give them time and space which put Leinster in good stead.

"We're going to try and do the same types of things, take away their time and space and not leave them too much time on the ball."

Irish Independent

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