Wednesday 25 April 2018

O'connor confident leinster stars will stay

Leinster coach Matt O'Connor has declared his confidence that both Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien will not be lured to French rugby, writes David Kelly.

However, O'Brien's season could be over after complications arose during surgery on his dislocated shoulder.

Both Irish back-rows remain live flight risks and they are believed to be engaging in further talks with French sides this weekend. However, O'Brien's move could be jeopardised by this latest setback.

The player had hoped to undergo keyhole shoulder surgery with a view to returning to action in late March, but instead the open surgery required could mean he faces a race if he is to be available again before the end of the seaons.

O'Brien began a new back-room role with the Carlow footballers on Wednesday, one manager Anthony Rainbow confirmed would last several months, which has led some to believe that he may be leaning towards staying in Ireland. Heaslip's thoughts remain unclear.

"We're confident in relation to backing an environment which is capable of winning things, of backing an environment that looks after the players very well and gives them the best chance to be as good as they can be," added O'Connor.

"Sean, Jamie and others have got a decision to make whether they want to be a part of that. At this stage I'd be confident that both of them want to be here.

The Leinster boss could receive an unexpected lift for Sunday's showdown with Castres, with unconfirmed reports that Cian Healy could make a dramatic return from injury.

Irish Independent

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