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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 26 May, 2018

Hamstring issue means Rob Kearney 'unlikely' to be on the plane to South Africa

The fullback picked up the issue in tonight’s win over Cardiff, while Dan Leavy could also be a doubt for the trip.

Kearney was taken off at half-time earlier.
Kearney was taken off at half-time earlier.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ryan Bailey reports from the RDS

ROB KEARNEY IS unlikely to travel to South Africa next week with Leinster after pulling up with a hamstring injury during the province’s bonus point victory over Cardiff Blues this evening.

The fullback was withdrawn at half-time while Dan Leavy has also emerged as an injury doubt for the two-week trip after rolling his ankle during the closing stages of the 39-7 win at the RDS.

“He’s rolled his ankle so I just wanted to get him off at the end. He didn’t look too bad in the end,” Leo Cullen explained afterwards.

“Rob went off at half-time, he’s a bit of a grab in his hamstring. For South Africa, we’ll wait and see, looking more unlikely than likely.”

Leinster maintained their 100% start to the season thanks to a late surge of tries saw off the challenge of Cardiff despite a flat and error-strewn performance from the hosts.

James Tracy’s third try for the province saw Cullen’s men lead 10-6 at the break, despite Isa Nacewa spending 10 minutes in the bin, before replacements Sean Cronin, Barry Daly and Nick McCarthy all crossed in the closing stages.

When asked if he thought his side would emerge with a bonus point win after watching a lifeless first-half display, Cullen said ‘no’.

Devin Toner after his 200th appearance Leinster have 10 points from 10 from their opening two games. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

What does that say about the performance, then?

“That we were poor,” the head coach continued. “We were expecting a backlash from Cardiff and they came hard physically at us, put a lot of pressure on our attack and flew at us.

“We were probably a little bit inpatient and coughed up the ball relatively cheaply. We just got into this arm wrestle. The scrum was messy, there was a lot of stoppages and it slowed the game as well. We didn’t have any real rhythm. I thought we were lucky to be in the lead at half time.

“I thought we scored two excellent tries as well, so pleasing bits but still a hell of a lot to work on. The scoreline flatters us, I thought Cardiff came and were very physical. We were probably lucky that we took the chances when they came.

“Our defence stood up well, it won us the game basically. We were a bit fortunate to get the five points so there’s a lot of things to work on before South Africa.”

Leinster will train at their UCD base on Monday before Cullen announces his 28-player travelling party for the games against the Cheetahs and Southern Kings over the next fortnight.

“There are a number of interesting decisions that have to be made,” he added.

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Leinster huff and puff but eventually put Cardiff away to seal unlikely bonus point win

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Ryan Bailey

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