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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Leinster assessing Sexton's 'minor' quad issue as Henshaw steps up recovery

The out-half pulled up in training last week and has not played for his province since December.

JOHNNY SEXTON WILL be assessed by the Leinster medical team again this week after the out-half pulled out of the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final win over Ulster with a quad issue.

The Ireland out-half has not played for his province since December as he continues to be frustrated by injury setbacks, and Sexton is expected to be managed again this week ahead of the Pro14 clash with Benetton Treviso at the RDS.

Johnny Sexton on the sidelines before the game Sexton ahead of Saturday's game against Ulster. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Leinster have downplayed the severity of Sexton’s latest injury, confirming it as a ‘minor’ quad problem after he pulled up in training last Thursday ahead of the Ulster quarter-final. He was withdrawn from Leo Cullen’s starting XV as a precaution.

With two home Pro14 fixtures to come ahead of Leinster’s Champions Cup semi-final tie against Toulouse on Easter Sunday, Sexton will be keen to get minutes under his belt, but Cullen will also be wary of risking his captain ahead of the run-in.

“With Johnny, it wasn’t a huge issue with his quad but enough to keep him out,” John Fogarty said this afternoon. 

“He did quite a bit of kicking over the last couple of weeks and whether that has played a factor or not, I’m not sure. As far as I’m aware, it’s not huge, it’s something that came upon him and kept him out of selection. It’s quite minor as far as I’m aware.

“He’ll do all he can to get back on the field.”

Both Robbie Henshaw and Devin Toner will step up their respective comebacks this week as they look to return for Benetton on Saturday evening [KO 7.45pm, eir Sport/TG4], but again Leinster will be cognisant of rushing them back ahead of two semi-final ties.

Henshaw has been sidelined with a dead leg injury since Ireland’s Six Nations opener against England back in February, while Toner’s return to play timeline is ahead of schedule following ankle surgery. 

“Dev is returning from a longer injury and both of he and Johnny will have to hit their markers throughout the week,” Fogarty continued. “It’s very difficult to say now whether they’ll be fit this week but they’re in a position now where they’re available once they hit their bits during the week.

“We’ll be keen for any of them to play. We need to have players training. Some of the guys have niggly injuries and it’s very difficult for us to build cohesion into what we’re doing if they’re not out on the pitch. We need to be working with them.

John Fogarty John Fogarty speaking to media at UCD this afternoon. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

On Henshaw, Fogarty added: ”He is someone who has been really frustrated with his injury. He initially thought he’d be back far sooner but it has dragged out. He’s dying to get back, he’s so important to us in finals rugby, the role he plays, he can make things work in that backline. He’s someone we’d like to see get back on the field.”

Meanwhile, Leinster have also reported a number of fresh injury concerns arising from Saturday’s demolition derby against their northern rivals, including Rhys Ruddock, Jamison Gibson-Park and Rory O’Loughlin.

Ruddock presented with neck and head issues following the 21-18 victory in Dublin and will now enter the graduated return to play protocols, while Gibson-Park was withdrawn after failing a HIA shortly after coming on for Luke McGrath.

O’Loughlin’s injury is, however, more concerning after he was forced off at half-time with a hamstring problem and although Leinster say it is ‘minor’, the centre has already been ruled out of selection this week.

Dan Leavy joins Josh van der Flier [groin] on the long-term absentee list. 

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Ryan Bailey

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