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# feel the byrne
Surgery to be considered for Carbery as Leinster place faith in Ross Byrne
Rob Kearney is also a doubt for the return clash with Saints, but Sean O’Brien looks set to shake off his neck stiffness.

WHILE JONATHAN SEXTON continues to undergo trials, rehab and tests on his hamstrings in Santry, Leinster are set to take on Northampton at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night with Ross Byrne in the number 10 shirt.

The 21-year-old was only added to the province’s list of player eligible to play European rugby last week, but with Cathal Marsh and Sexton already sidelined, Joey Carbery picked up a ankle problem in the first half of the bonus point win at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday.

The news on Carbery today is far from encouraging. The Athy tyro will consult with a specialist today to determine if he will require surgery. And with Noel Reid still being monitored for a foot injury, Leo Cullen is left with Isa Nacewa and Tom Daly as contingency plans at out-half — assuming no breakthrough is made with Sexton.

However, Byrne never looked anything other than comfortable and accomplished when guiding Ireland U20s in consecutive years. And when called upon to make his European debut, he kept Leinster firmly on course for victory on the road, contributing one of the game’s highlights by delivering a pin-point cross-field kick for Rory O’Loughlin to dot down in the corner.

“He’s a very calm individual,” says Josh van der Flier.

“He won’t get too flustered, he controls the game really well. He’s a great man to play with. He’s very vocal as well, which is what you want from your 10, he’ll tell you exactly what you need to do – he’ll be very good.”

Sean O’Brien makes a break to score a try that was dissallowed James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Another vocal presence who looks set to pull through for the return clash with the Saints is Sean O’Brien. The flanker did not return after undergoing a head injury assessment when Dylan Hartley hit the back of his head with a flailing arm. However, the doctors did not diagnose O’Brien with concussion and scrum coach John Fogarty says he did not return due to a touch of neck stiffness.

“Sean’s going to work out that stiffness, he seems alright for the week,” said Fogarty.

Rob Kearney, who was also called ashore early on Friday with an ankle injury, will undergo further scans to determine the extent of the issue today.

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