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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 18 June, 2018

Leinster hopeful Fitzgerald and Reddan will feature against Dragons

Meanwhile, Matt O’Connor says Dave Kearney’s new contract is as good as signed.

Eoin Reddan was ruled out of Ireland's opening Six Nations fixtures with a calf problem.
Eoin Reddan was ruled out of Ireland's opening Six Nations fixtures with a calf problem.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

LEINSTER HEAD COACH Matt O’Connor is hopeful that Luke Fitzgerald and Eoin Reddan will play some part in Friday night’s Pro12 clash with the Dragons at the RDS [KO 7.45pm].

Both players have been released from Ireland camp in order to accumulate game time after their recent abdominal and calf injuries, respectively. The Australian says the international duo are “available” as long as they come through check-ups following today’s training session at UCD.

Yeah, they trained today and the medical team’s pretty positive that they will be able to take some part in the game. How big a part that is, we’ll have to wait and see. But they seem to have pushed through those soft tissue injuries and look ok.”

However, team manager Guy Easterby says it would be foolish to rush the players back if they are not 100% ready to play. He says the process of returning the pitch is about “what’s best for the individual players.”

The former Ireland scrum-half did underline that Joe Schmidt has asked Leinster to give Fitzgerald and Reddan a run-out.

“I think that conversation has been had with Matt. Obviously Luke and Eoin have been unlucky and they need some game time. The most important thing is that they’re fully fit; there’s no point in forcing it at this stage and them missing a couple of weeks.”

Returning internationals

The indication are that Fergus McFadden will start against the Dragons following two substitute appearances for Ireland in recent weeks, while Mike McCarthy and Jordi Murphy are set to feature again. Easterby is awaiting confirmation on which other Ireland players will be available this weekend.

That hasn’t been finalised. There’s certainly a group of players we’ll be getting back, but how many we get back at this point is not confirmed.”

Meanwhile, O’Connor suggested that the process of sealing Dave Kearney’s new contract is almost complete.

“He’s agreed that, but I don’t think it’s been signed. He’s certainly indicated his intentions to stay and there’s no panic from our end on that.”

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Murray Kinsella

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