Monday 21 October 2019

Leo Cullen explains why Johnny Sexton will miss Leinster's showdown with Munster

Leinster's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Sexton will miss Saturday's Pro14 semi-final against Munster with a calf problem, Leinster coach Leo Cullen has confirmed.

Cullen has confirmed that both Sexton and Robbie Henshaw should be fit to play in the final if Leinster win the all-Irish last four clash, with Sexton's absence a major blow for the side that were crowned as European champions last weekend.

Ross Byrne will replace Sexton for the clash at the sold-out RDS on Saturday, with the injury unlikely to be a long-term issue if Leinster are to reach another final.

"Just a bit of tightness in his calf," stated Cullen when he was asked about Sexton’s injury. "All the signs are that he should be okay next week, if there is a next week.

"We named him on the bench at the start of the week so we thought he’d be okay but he went to run yesterday and he wasn’t 100% so we had to call it.

"We named Ross [Byrne] at the start of the week to start at 10, so there wasn’t a huge amount of disruption from out part.

"Guys have trained well this week and it’s been a tight turn around after last week."

Sexton's injury is not considered to be a long-term problem and Cullen is also confident that Robbie Henshaw will recover from a knee injury in time to make Ireland’s tour to Australia next month.

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“He has done a little bit of damage to his knee,” said Cullen of Henshaw. “It is nothing too major, a few weeks.

“I talked to him in the gym today, He’s making quick progress. It is too just soon for him this week."

Munster have made one change from the side that defeated Edinburgh with John Ryan coming in at tighthead prop.

Leinster: J Carbery; J Larmour, G Ringrose, I Nacewa (capt), J Lowe; R Byrne, L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, J Ryan, R Ruddock, J Murphy, J Conan.

Replacements: J Tracy, C Healy, A Porter, S Fardy, M Deegan; N McCarthy, R O’Loughlin, B Daly.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.

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