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Out-half concern for Leinster as Frawley ruled out 'for a number of weeks'

The 20-year-old suffered an arm injury in the pre-season defeat to Newcastle.

Frawley will miss the first few weeks of the Pro14 season.
Frawley will miss the first few weeks of the Pro14 season.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

LEO CULLEN IS facing into an early-season selection headache after it was confirmed Ciarán Frawley will miss a number of weeks with the arm injury he sustained against Newcastle Falcons last Friday.

The 20-year-old suffered a heavy knock to his right arm in the opening exchanges of Leinster’s 42-17 pre-season defeat to the Falcons and after leaving Donnybrook in a sling, will now be sidelined for the start of the province’s Pro14 campaign.

While no exact timeline has been put on Frawley’s return to action, his absence for Leinster’s opening games away to Cardiff Blues and Scarlets will leave Cullen’s out-half options conspicuously light.

As Johnny Sexton and Ross Byrne continue to take the delayed route back to action following Ireland’s summer tour of Australia, and Joey Carbery now relocated to Limerick, it is a dilemma the Leinster head coach could have done without.

Noel Reid started in the pivot position in the win over Montauban a fortnight ago, while Jimmy O’Brien and Tom Daly have also deputised in the 10 jersey in pre-season.

Daly came off the bench to score two tries in the heavy reversal to the Falcons and while showing good distribution skills, is not an out-and-out 10, which can also be said about fellow centres O’Brien and Reid.

“We’ve concern over a few positions at the moment,” Cullen said at today’s Pro14 launch in Glasgow.

Cullen may be required to delve deeper into the province’s stocks for the first few rounds of Pro14 action before Sexton and Byrne return, with the latter’s younger brother, Harry, an option.

Leo Cullen Cullen speaking at today's Pro14 launch. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Will Connors is also facing a period on the sidelines after doing ‘a bit of damage’ to his knee in the first minute of last Friday’s hit-out at Donnybrook, but Joe Tomane presented well after the game despite hobbling off with a knee issue.

The Australian centre is expected to be fit for the opening game of Leinster’s title defence at the Cardiff Arms Park on Friday week, but with back-to-back away fixtures to kick off the campaign, Cullen is wary of the challenges around the corner.

“With Cardiff next weekend, it’s just this battle for every single point,” he added.

“It’s going to be an unbelievably competitive league. Expectation and those type of things are positive for us, the way we go about our day-to-day business is a pressure but we see it as a positive thing.

“Everyone’s adding all the time, everyone is getting more and more resources behind their teams and you saw with some of our results last year, Benetton beat us, we were beaten heavily by Connacht. It’s really competitive and it’s shaping up to be a very exciting tournament this year.”

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Ryan Bailey

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