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'It's gutting for him': Rob Kearney suffers fresh injury setback, Heaslip also misses SA trip

The fullback faces another spell on the sidelines after Leinster confirm hamstring problem.

Kearney sustained the injury against Cardiff on Friday.
Kearney sustained the injury against Cardiff on Friday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

ROB KEARNEY HAS suffered a fresh injury setback after it was confirmed he faces another spell on the sidelines with a hamstring problem he picked up during Friday’s win over Cardiff Blues.

The Leinster fullback was withdrawn at half-time at the RDS and will now definitely miss the province’s two-week tour to South Africa, although the extent of the damage has yet to be determined. The province are anxiously awaiting the results of a scan.

Kearney has been plagued by hamstring problems over the last two seasons and this latest blow comes after the 31-year-old had worked his way back to full fitness over pre-season.

“It’s gutting for him to be honest,” John Fogarty said this afternoon. “It’s so important that everyone who travels [to South Africa] is ready to go and he’s not in a fit state to travel. It’s disappointing.

“I share the same frustration and I’m sure he’s at this moment at the end of his tether a small bit. He’s annoyed, of course. He still has big plans, he’s got a season ahead of him which he wants to make his mark in both here and for Ireland.

“He wants to be fit and be successful. He’s very disappointed, but he’s realistic in his approach. He knows the process he has to go through now to get back. You just have to go to work with it, be disappointed for a little bit but get on with it.”

John Fogarty Forwards coach John Fogarty speaking to the media at UCD today. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

When asked if there was an explanation as to why the Ireland international continues to suffer the same injury, Fogarty added: “He’s considered a special case with the injury profile he’s built up over the years, he has to be managed. I know the team there are doing a good job to manage him but I don’t have an answer for you as to why he’s re-injured. All I can do is share the frustration.

“I’m not too sure [how bad it is], to be honest. I don’t know what grade they’re talking about, but beyond that I don’t know.”

Kearney wasn’t the only casualty from Friday’s bonus point win over the Blues, with Dan Leavy also set to miss the flight to South Africa with an ankle injury. The flanker reported for duty at Leinster HQ in a protective boot this morning and won’t be considered for selection.

Jamie Heaslip hasn’t recovered from a lower back injury in time and has also been ruled out while Richardt Strauss, Tom Daly (both knee), Robbie Henshaw (pectoral muscle), Johnny Sexton (wrist and ankle), Tadhg Furlong (thumb), Sean O’Brien and Garry Ringrose (both shoulder) are all unavailable to Leo Cullen.

In total, there were 18 players listed on the injury update issued by Leinster’s medical staff this morning although both Dave Kearney and Jordi Murphy are likely to be among the 28 players who board the flight south tomorrow afternoon.

Jordi Murphy Jordi Murphy is expected to travel to South Africa. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Kearney has recovered from the groin issue that kept him out of the first two games of the season while Murphy, who hasn’t played since the All Blacks game in Chicago, has made good progress in training too.

Noel Reid, Fergus McFadden and Joey Carbery will all be monitored in training today and tomorrow before Cullen finalises his travelling party for the games against the Kings and Cheetahs.

“It’s on the edge of being finalised, it’s not out there yet,” Fogarty said of the squad.

“There’s still discussions that have to be had. Medicals to come back and waiting on all the final bits to come back as it has to be right.”

Leinster will have one final pitch session at their UCD base on Tuesday morning before flying to South Africa, where they will arrive into Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Cullen’s side face the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday before heading to Bloemfontein where they will meet the Cheetahs on Friday week.

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