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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Ringrose's November hopes dashed as centre ruled out of Ireland contention

Leo Cullen says he is planning without the 22-year-old until the end of next month as he continues his rehab from shoulder surgery.

Ringrose played in all three of Ireland's summer games.
Ringrose played in all three of Ireland's summer games.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ryan Bailey reports from Scotstoun

ANY REMAINING HOPE that Garry Ringrose will be fit enough to feature for Ireland in any of the three November internationals has been definitively dashed by Leo Cullen, who revealed he is planning without the centre until the end of next month.

Following his involvement in the summer tour to USA and Japan, during which he played all three games, Ringrose underwent shoulder surgery to rectify an ongoing problem.

The initial prognosis, Leinster said, was a recovery period of four to five months and while he has entered the final stage of rehabilitation, the 22-year-old has yet to return to unrestricted training.

Speaking at the start of September, Ringrose suggested he was further along in the process, saying he hoped to be back ‘in a couple of weeks’ but he won’t be involved against South Africa, Fiji or Argentina and is now in a race to be fit for the next round of European games.

“Garry is still a bit off so he is probably looking at the end of November,” Cullen said, after watching his side dismantle Glasgow to make it two Champions Cup victories from two.

Leinster were in imperious form at Scotstoun on Saturday, as they completely obliterated the Glasgow pack to secure a first victory at the ground since 2012. It was a significant statement of intent from the province as they seized early control of Pool 3.

Cian Healy’s first-half brace of tries put Cullen’s side in a commanding position at the break and they continued to turn the screw after the interval with Johnny Sexton, outstanding all afternoon, and Noel Reid crossing to completely derail Glasgow’s European aspirations.

It was pretty much the perfect away day for Leinster, although the loss of Barry Daly and then Josh van der Flier to injury during the second period was the main cause for concern afterwards.

Leinster regroup Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Daly sustained a bang to his ankle during the first half and although he received treatment on the pitch and had it strapped at the break, the UCD winger, who has been in prolific form this term, was unable to continue after the restart.

Similarly, van der Flier made way for the returning Dan Leavy 10 minutes into the second period with an ankle problem and certainly the initial indication from Cullen was that both will be struggling to be fit for this weekend’s trip to Ravenhill.

“I don’t know how bad they are yet,” the head coach said. “It looks like Josh will struggle for this week. We’ll see.”

A further update will be provided later today, but the potential loss of van der Flier would be offset somewhat by the availability of Leavy and Sean O’Brien, who carried the drinks on Saturday after just missing out on selection.

The Lions flanker hasn’t featured since his first appearance of the season against Edinburgh because of a calf issue, but is back to full fitness and is likely to be unleashed when inter-pro battle lines are renewed in the Pro14.

The two provinces head into Saturday’s showdown in Belfast in slightly different places after the weekend’s European action, with Ulster subjected to a heavy loss at the hands of La Rochelle in France.

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Leinster, for their part, have got off to a flyer in Pool 3 with a maximum 10 points and while not firing entirely on all cylinders, they still managed to lay down a considerable marker over the opening two weekends. The three-time champions, a completely different beast in Europe, are motoring again.

But Cullen isn’t getting carried away.

Exeter Chiefs, the Premiership champions, remain in touch after a stunning away victory at Montpellier to add to their dismissal of Glasgow on the opening week. The back-to-back games with Leinster at Sandy Park and the Aviva Stadium in early December are already mouth-watering.

Leo Cullen Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We still have a long way to go,” Cullen reminded us all. “There can still be a lot of twists and turns in this pool. What my experience will tell me is not to get too excited by the first two rounds. There are a lot of things that we can get better at.

“This group has a lot of ability but some of them are still young and some of them are trying to build up that level of experience. There are a lot of games to take place before we play our next Champions Cup game and that will be against a very difficult team in Exeter.

“They are a very efficient team and they don’t give up much cheaply, if at all. They are very dangerous opposition.”

But you must be moderately pleased with two bonus point wins from two?

“Yep, yep.”

A good start, but little time to dwell on it. Ulster up next.

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Ryan Bailey

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