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Carbery returns to Leinster training and O'Brien targets Champions Cup comeback

The 22-year-old is still a number of weeks away from a full return but is making good progress.

Carbery hasn't played since the November international against Fiji.
Carbery hasn't played since the November international against Fiji.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

JOEY CARBERY WILL this week return to on field training for the first time since breaking his wrist in the November international against Fiji as he steps up his rehabilitation work.

The 22-year-old is still a number of weeks away from a full comeback but the news of his return to training will come as a boost to both Leinster and Ireland ahead of the final two Champions Cup pool games and the start of the Six Nations on 3 February.

Carbery fractured his left wrist in three places during the second half of Ireland’s 23-20 win over Fiji in November and underwent surgery to have metal screws inserted.

He won’t be available for this weekend’s final inter-pro of the festive period against Ulster with Leinster already without Rory O’Loughlin, Richardt Strauss, James Ryan and Sean O’Brien for the Pro14 derby at the RDS [KO 5.35pm, TG4, Sky Sports].

O’Loughlin suffered a head knock towards the latter stages of yesterday’s win over Connacht and has now entered the Return to Play protocols, while Strauss (back) and Ryan (ankle) remain sidelined with the injuries they sustained against Munster on St Stephen’s Day.

Leinster say second row Ryan, who could reportedly miss the start of the Six Nations, is ‘improving’ but no further update was issued on his fitness.

O’Brien, meanwhile, has reported tightness in his hip and won’t be available for the visit of Ulster on Saturday but it is hoped he will be back fit in time for Leinster’s Pool 3 clash with Glasgow Warriors on 14 January.

“Sean is unavailable for next week, that’s as far as it goes at the moment,” John Fogarty said this afternoon.

“He still has a bit of tightness and isn’t moving as free as he needs to be. We’re not going to risk it.

John Fogarty John Fogarty issuing a squad update at Leinster HQ this afternoon. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Sean has had a few things that have caught him over the years. There are a lot of big moments ahead of us and for Ireland. We want to make sure he is in the best possible shape so he’s not going to be available this week.”

While Leo Cullen has been boosted by the return to fitness of Jack McGrath, there are a number of players who are doubts for this weekend.

Dan Leavy (back), Luke McGrath (HIA) and Adam Byrne (knee) will all be assessed as the week progresses and decisions over their availability will be made closer to when Cullen names his starting XV at noon on Friday.

There was no update on the fitness of Rhys Ruddock (hamstring), Jamie Heaslip (lower back) and Tom Daly (knee).

The New Year’s Day win over Connacht was Leinster’s sixth straight victory in all competitions and moves them within two points of Conference B leaders Scarlets ahead of round 13.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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Ryan Bailey

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