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Kearney 'itching' to play while Sexton nurses a blow to his back

Plus, Leinster say the injuries to both Noel Reid and Luke McGrath are not as serious as first feared.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

LEINSTER ARE CONFIDENT that Johnny Sexton’s injury will not keep him out for long and he could even line out with Rob Kearney in this weekend’s trip to Glasgow.

The Ireland out-half suffered a blow to his ‘lower back and glute’ in the second half of Friday’s narrow win over Ulster and was replaced by Noel Reid. Unfortunately for Reid and Leinster, the replacement then suffered an ankle injury and is wearing a protective boot while he is being assessed.

Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey was pleased to report that an x-ray revealed no damage to the bone after Reid ‘rolled his ankle’ and the problem was a ligament strain.

“It was more precautionary that we took (Sexton) off,” Dempsey said in Leinster’s UCD training base today.

“He got a bang into his lower back and his glute, he started to stiffen up so we felt it necessary to take him off. We got him off the field pretty quickly and he’s fine, he was just a bit stiff and sore after such an attritional game.”

Hopeful

Scrum-half Luke McGrath also left with field with an injury, which Dempsey reports as another ligament strain, this one to the 22-year-old’s knee.

“Luke McGrath got caught awkwardly in a tackle and strained his medial ligament;  thankfully it’s not as serious as we first thought. He’s out of action this weekend, but we’re hopeful he’ll be back then.”

Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

As for Rob Kearney, who has been hopeful of returning to the starting line-up since tweaking a hamstring in the win over Scarlets three weeks ago, Dempsey attempted to outline the timeline of the fullback’s latest late omission from the squad.

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“I was doing some kicking and high ball fielding with Rob on the captain’s run (Thursday). He got on fine, walked off the field, did press and then that evening he rang the physio and said he felt tight and twingey. He came in the following morning, got treated and the strength markers in his hamstring were down.

“He was too much of a risk. Taking him out of the game, with a view to what’s coming down the line, we felt it was important to not risk the potential chance of a tear.

Dempsey added that, while Kearney’s hamstring problem is not on the same side as the glute issue he suffered in the World Cup, the fullback is working to strengthen the entire area.

“It’s the other side (to the glute injury in the RWC). It’s general tightness. He’s working on – an S&C term – ‘his rear chain’ of his hamstring, glutes and lower back. He’s made huge strides, even over the weekend, on his rehab programme. He’s good, he’s confident and he’s itching to get back.”

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Sean Farrell

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