Tuesday 26 March 2019

Boost for Leinster and Ireland as Luke McGrath set for return from knee injury

Luke McGrath suffered a knee injury against Toulouse in the Champions Cup. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Luke McGrath suffered a knee injury against Toulouse in the Champions Cup. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Luke McGrath is hoping to make his return to action sooner than expected after suffering a knee injury last month.

The Leinster scrum-half went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury against Toulouse in the Champions Cup in early January, with initial fears that he had damaged his ACL.

However, subsequently it was confirmed that McGrath suffered an MCL injury, ruling him out of the opening of the Six Nations.

In a big boost to Leinster and Ireland, McGrath told The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast in association with Aldi, that he is hoping to be back on the pitch by late February/early March, which would see him come into contention for Ireland's final two Six Nations games against France and Wales.

McGrath would then also be available for Leinster's Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster at the Aviva Stadium.

"The rehab is going very well," McGrath said.

"I've actually had the same injury twice before so I'm well aware of the rehab, which can be good. I'm hoping to be back in two to three weeks. I don't want to rush the knee but all going well, I'll be back then."

2019 is a huge year for Irish rugby, with Ireland looking to make a World Cup semi-final for the first time ever when they go to Japan in the autumn.

McGrath is targeting a place in Joe Schmidt's World Cup squad, and was thankful when his knee injury didn't turn out to be a cruciate ligament issue.

"Because I had done the MCL before I kind of knew it was something to do with that but you always fear that it could be the ACL," McGrath said.

"It was a real quick shunt of my knee and at first I thought it was something to do with my kneecap. The physios straight away do certain tests and they didn't think it was my ACL. They can never be 100% [before a scan] but they gave me good confidence. Waiting for the scan results were tough."

"Going off in that game I was more thinking of the Six Nations around the corner.

"I did this injury last year just after France, which is very frustrating to take. I set my goal to be back for a certain game and that is a short-term goal."

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