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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 20 June, 2018

No ill effects for Leinster's O'Brien as McCarthy and Cullen pick up strains

The province will be without Richardt Strauss for their Pro12 semi-final against Ulster, but Eoin Reddan should return.

Sean O'Brien played 52 minutes on his comeback for Leinster against Edinburgh.
Sean O'Brien played 52 minutes on his comeback for Leinster against Edinburgh.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER WILL BE without hooker Richardt Strauss for this weekend’s RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final against Ulster at the RDS, while Luke Fitzgerald looks unlikely to be involved at this stage.

Second row pair Mike McCarthy and Leo Cullen are also carrying injuries, although the province are confident that their captain will be fit to play on Saturday.

Ireland international Strauss suffered a hamstring tear in last weekend’s 15-13 win over Edinburgh, being helped off after just 12 minutes. McCarthy was withdrawn in the 78th minute of the action at the RDS, with Leinster forwards coach Jono Gibbes confirming that the lock is a doubt for the clash with Ulster.

“Straussy has been ruled out with a significant hamstring injury. Mike McCarthy came off with a significant calf strain, and he probably hasn’t been ruled out. We’ll probably look later in the week at him.”

Cullen was scheduled to travel to last night’s Pro12 awards ceremony in Glasgow, but having picked up a groin strain in the game against Edinburgh, the province felt he was better served to remain at home and begin his recovery.

The 36-year-old’s training will be limited in the early part of this week, but Gibbes believes the Leinster captain will be fit to face Ulster.

“He’s just pulling up a little bit with his groin and hip sort of stuff. It’s a bit precautionary and I think the signs already are pretty positive for his involvement this weekend.

Richardt Strauss leaves the field injured Strauss leaves the RDS pitch in some pain on Saturday evening. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Scrum-half Eoin Reddan “is looking pretty good to return to the fold this week,” according to Clermont-bound Gibbes. However, the prognosis on the unfortunate Luke Fitzgerald is not so positive.

“They didn’t say anything to me about him, so it’s probably a sign that it’s not going to be this week, I think,” said Gibbes in UCD this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Sean O’Brien came through his return from shoulder surgery unscathed, completing 52 minutes versus Edinburgh. The Ireland back row was unhappy with his performance, but delighted just to be back in the fray.

“I was obviously very pleased to be back,” said O’Brien. “I hadn’t thought about it much when the shoulder went on me, that I would be back this year. So it was good to get back early and [I was] happy enough to get through a bit of work.”

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Murray Kinsella

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