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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 23 September 2020
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'He looks like he's itching to get going' - Conan returns for Leinster

The number eight hasn’t played since last year’s World Cup.

MOST OF HIS team-mates have had to wait more than five months for a game but Jack Conan is closer to the 11-month mark as he gets set for his return from the foot injury he suffered at last year’s World Cup.

The number eight would have made his comeback before now but for the 2019/20 season being put on hold just as he had recovered from the fracture he sustained in Japan after making just one replacement appearance for Joe Schmidt’s side against Scotland. 

jack-conan Jack Conan is back in the Leinster team. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The last time Conan played for Leinster was in last season’s Pro14 final on 25 May 2019 so he will be thrilled to pull on the blue jersey this evening after being named to start at number eight against Munster [KO 7.35pm, eir Sport, deferred coverage at 9.35pm on TG4].

The 28-year-old will have his sights set on an Ireland spot in the months to come, keen to add to his 17 caps. 

First up, though, he will be focused on helping Leinster to resume their season with a win in Dublin against Munster.

“I think Jack is desperate to get back playing,” said Leinster boss Leo Cullen yesterday. “If you think he was due to play in the game before we broke up in South Africa, he was all set to go there. Then suddenly everything grinds to a halt.

“He’s trained well during the lockdown period clearly because he’s come back in great shape. He just looks like he’s itching to get going at this stage.

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“In many ways, he’s had a lot of time with the team to train over the last number of weeks and he’s in good shape and desperate to get back playing. It’s been a pretty frustrating period for him. He’s done everything he possibly can to get back.”

As for the other long-term absentee for Leinster, Dan Leavy, there is still no concrete date for his return.

dan-leavy Dan Leavy is getting closer to his return. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The Ireland international openside is back in team training after a remarkable recovery from his horror knee injury last year against Ulster but Cullen said Leinster still need to show some caution.

“He’ll progress things a bit more next week and we’ll see where he is at the end of the week,” said Cullen. “He’s not a million miles away which is good. We just want to make sure it’s safe for him to come back.

“It’s been a hell of a long time for him, just because it was such a big injury. He’s good, he’s doing more and more all the time. He’s getting very, very close. Sometimes you’ve got to hold him back to make sure he’s well set up when he does come back.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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