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Leinster will 'wait and see' as Sexton remains sidelined with head injury

The out-half will miss this weekend’s clash with Munster.

Sexton after being replaced in Exeter.
Sexton after being replaced in Exeter.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER HEAD COACH Leo Cullen says the province will give Johnny Sexton whatever time he needs to recover from his latest head injury.

The 35-year-old was forced off during the province’s Champions Cup quarter-final win over Exeter two weekends ago and has been ruled out of this weekend’s Rainbow Cup opener against Munster.

Sexton also suffered a head injury while playing for Ireland in February, as well as with Leinster in early January. Leinster said yesterday that Sexton is undergoing “further assessment” this week following the injury against Exeter.

The Leinster captain has been taking part in some training with the province this week but Cullen said they will not put him under any pressure to return in time for the Champions Cup semi-final against La Rochelle on 2 May.

“We’ve had some experience with guys in and around concussion things and Johnny is very much the same, just doing what’s best by him really is the most important piece really,” said Cullen yesterday.

“Getting him seen by the best people out there and make the appropriate decisions out the back of that, but yeah he’s come through reasonably well. We didn’t train last week so he’s back out there running around today, which is good. 

“A little bit of wait and see, yeah.”

Leinster second row James Ryan and number eight Caelan Doris have been sidelined due to concussion in recent times.

Ryan suffered two head injuries during Ireland’s Six Nations campaign, while Doris withdrew from the championship before it got underway and last played back in January.

Clearly, Leinster are taking extra caution with players who suffer head injuries, something Cullen underlined as important to the province.

“Caelan’s back, he’s been training for a number of weeks,” said Cullen. “So it was always about putting a plan together. We’re still seeking out all the different advice around trying to put the best plan together for Johnny, so it’s similar to Caelan.

“James Ryan as well towards the end of the Six Nations, those guys are getting close to being back playing as well, which is good.

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“We just want to do what’s right by all the players. Realistically we’ve seen some players who have had to retire – [Ireland scrum coach] John Fogarty we’ve talked about, he’s still pretty connected here to lots of the players, [ex-Leinster flanker] Kevin McLaughlin who sits on the professional game board – and for those guys to try and share the experience and making sure, like these are relationships… like, we’ve got games week-on-week-on-week, but these are relationships we want to keep with people and have positive stories long, long, long into the future.

“So there’s a much broader picture there and we’ll just try and do what’s best for all the individuals.

“But it’s something we’re learning on all the time, definitely. There are lots of different pieces going on globally in the game, there’s definitely things that would be handled differently now, I think it’s fair to say, with the information they would have available to them.

“We’re blessed with the medics we have here as well, certainly the players have great care and people looking out for their best interests, which is what you want.”

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Murray Kinsella

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