'Ross has probably played the most of any of the 10s': Cullen confirms Carbery injury blow but backs Byrne to deliver
Leo Cullen has confirmed that Joey Carbery will be out of action for up to eight weeks with the ankle injury that he suffered in last week’s win in Northampton.
Carbery underwent surgery at the start of the week and is in a race to be fit for the start of the Six Nations.
Cullen is however confident that Ross Byrne can step up in Carbery and Sexton’s absence when he starts his first European game at the Aviva against the Saints tomorrow.
“Joey had surgery at the start of the week,” Cullen said at Leinster’s UCD base this afternoon.
“It’s a reasonably standard operation at this stage in terms of that quite a few of our players have had that operation - syndesmosis repair.
“Depending on the individual, it’s a six to eight week timeframe. But all the reports are that he’s going well and we’re looking forward to getting him back.
Cullen remains hopeful that Sexton could play over the festive period but the Ireland out-half is realistically likely to sit out until the new year.
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“He’s making really, really good progress,” Cullen maintained.
“Again, reports will come back at the end of the week about how he’s gone. There’s good communication there between the various medical parties.
“He’s in a good head space. He was in and around here this morning. He’s looking good, training well. We’ll hopefully get him back before too long.”
Having impressed off the bench last week, Byrne is handed his first Champions Cup start tomorrow and Cullen has backed the former Ireland U-20 star to handle the pressure.
“Ross has probably played the most of any of the 10s. When you think back, he started against Zebre, started against Scarlets, playing the majority of the second half against Dragons and played 65 minutes last week as well.
“He’s played plenty and ran the team well. He’s been waiting for his chance for a long time. He’s probably had a bit of a frustrating wait. He’s picked up a few injuries last year as well. He’s got a good, calm presence and has ran the team well.”