IRELAND AND LEINSTER prop Cian Healy is set to miss up to eight weeks of action having undergone ankle surgery yesterday.
The 26-year-old was a late withdrawal from last weekend’s 40-7 victory over Northampton Saints in the Heineken Cup and now looks a major worry for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign, which begins on the 2nd of February against Scotland.
Leinster coach Matt O’Connor was the man to confirm Healy’s spell on the sidelines when he spoke at the province’s UCD base this afternoon.
Cian had ankle surgery on Wednesday, so he’s unavailable for about eight weeks, we hope. It was syndesmosis and they repaired that. He’s doing good but he won’t play for a while.”
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will be concerned about Healy’s ankle problem, but also relieved that he blooded Jack MacGrath into international rugby over the November Test series. The 24-year-old may now have a vital part to play in the Kiwi’s first Six Nations effort.
O’Connor admitted that the length of Healy’s enforced break from rugby has come as something of a surprise, while also pointing out that the prop has had previous troubles with similar injuries.
“The ankle sprains are becoming increasingly complicated. So that was probably longer than we would have liked obviously, but until you scan it you don’t really know.”
Meanwhile, O’Connor confirmed that Sean O’Brien’s recovery from a dead leg sustained in the win over the Saints is progressing, although he refused to definitively state that the back row will be fit for this weekend.
Seanie’s trained all right, so we’ll wait and see. We’ll give him as long as possible. Hopefully he’ll be alright. It’s one of those, you’ve got a dead leg. It’s improving really quickly but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
The rest of the Leinster squad is in good condition, according to the Australian coach.
“The boys have trained really well and they’re really looking forward to it.”
Leinster have already sold 44,000 tickets for Saturday’s return leg with Northampton at the Aviva Stadium, with that number expected to grow further in the coming days.
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