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Kelleher and Baird return for Leinster ahead of Champions Cup quarter-final

Leo Cullen’s men travel to face Leicester this Saturday.

Kelleher is fit to face Leicester on Saturday.
Kelleher is fit to face Leicester on Saturday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER HAVE BEEN handed a boost ahead of their Champions Cup quarter-final clash with Leicester with the return to full training of hooker Rónan Kelleher and lock Ryan Baird.

Leo Cullen’s men will meet the Tigers on Saturday at Welford Road in Leicester in what is an eagerly-anticipated heavyweight European clash.

Kelleher flew out with Leinster for their two-week URC tour of South Africa a fortnight ago but returned home early after picking up a shoulder knock. The Ireland international has now recovered fully and is fit to feature against Leicester.

Second row Baird has been sidelined with a back injury since Ireland’s Six Nations campaign but is now also back in full training and clear to resume playing for Leinster.

Cullen will definitely be without experienced hooker James Tracy for the European quarter-final due to his neck injury, while back row Max Deegan is a doubt as he continues to have a shoulder issue assessed.

Leinster returned from their trip to South Africa following last Saturday’s defeat to the Stormers, although Cullen opted to leave all of his key front-liners at home in order to prepare for the Leicester clash.

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Senior coach Stuart Lancaster led the sessions with the likes of captain Johnny Sexton and his fellow Ireland internationals back at Leinster’s training base in UCD over the past two weeks.

Leinster are now hopeful that those front-line players are fresh and perfectly prepared for the challenge of going on the road to Leicester.

Dave Kearney [hamstring] and Will Connors [knee] remain sidelined with their long-term injuries.

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Murray Kinsella

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