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Leinster captain Nacewa faces spell on the sidelines after knee surgery

The 34-year-old twisted his knee in training last week.

Nacewa suffered the injury in training last week.
Nacewa suffered the injury in training last week.
Image: Inpho

LEINSTER WILL BE without captain Isa Nacewa for the next set of Guinness Pro12 fixtures after he had a keyhole procedure on his knee to rectify an injury sustained in training last week.

The 34-year-old missed last Sunday’s win in Treviso and after seeing a specialist at the start of the week, went under the knife to remove ‘a bit of a loose body’ which was causing irritation.

Nacewa is definitely out of tomorrow night’s clash with Edinburgh at the RDS with Leo Cullen this afternoon confirming that the fullback will be sidelined for ‘a couple of weeks.’

“We were fearing the worst but the damage is not as bad as we first feared,” Cullen said.

“When a guy flares up at training, and you send them to see a specialist, you are always fearing the worst. But they were pretty happy that it was minor in the end.”

While there is no exact timeline for his return, Cullen is confident Nacewa will be back in plenty of time for the province’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 1 April.

“He is a model professional, he keeps telling me he wants to play until he is 40,” Cullen added.

Isa Nacewa injured Nacewa faces a period on the sidelines. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“We are talking about a couple of weeks unless there is a set-back so there are no worries about his availability for the Champions Cup quarter-final date with Wasps.”

In Nacewa’s absence, Luke McGrath will captain Leinster against the Scottish side tomorrow with Cullen making eight changes in total from the XV that picked up a bonus point in Italy last week.

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Josh van der Flier, Joey Carbery, James Tracy, Mike Ross and Mike McCarthy all start for the hosts in a side containing an exciting mixture of youth and experience.

With a short window for preparation this week — Leinster only had one full proper session on the training paddock — Cullen is fully aware of the threat Edinburgh will pose under the lights at the RDS.

“A really tough challenge for us against Edinburgh, they’re not missing a huge amount of players and coming off the back of a couple of games; a narrow loss to Munster and they had a lot of chances in that game,” he said.

“They started poorly against Ulster but they’re a team who dig in well and a couple of more players back into the mix this week so a really tough challenge.

Leo Cullen and Luke McGrath Cullen and Luke McGrath at today's press conference in the RDS. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“For us, it has been about getting as focused as we possibly can because they’re such fine margins at various different parts of the table so it’s really important we’re focused on first and foremost trying to improve on some of the aspects from the Treviso game and it’s a totally different challenge Edinburgh will pose. Make sure we’re clear on the threats they will pose so it’s going to be a tough challenge for us.

“I thought we were a bit rusty at times in Treviso but it’s what you’d expect off the back of not having played together, or certainly not together for a couple of weeks. It’s an interesting challenge but guys have trained well this week given the short prep time we’ve had so we’ll see how we go but pretty realistic in terms of the challenge that awaits us.

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