Leinster face injury headaches with short turnaround for huge Bath clash

Three of the province’s players suffered head injuries against Wasps.

SEAN O’BRIEN, RICHARDT Strauss and Mike McCarthy will have to come through their concussion protocols without setbacks in order to prove their fitness for Leinster’s huge Champions Cup clash with Bath next Saturday.

The eastern province’s 33-6 defeat to Wasps at the RDS this afternoon means their Pool 5 campaign got off to the worst possible start and makes the importance of a victory in The Rec in six days’ times all the greater.

Sean O'Brien goes off injured with Dr. Jim McShane O'Brien was replaced after failing a head injury assessment. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Leo Cullen’s side lost O’Brien, Strauss and McCarthy to head injuries during the defeat to Wasps, and the relatively short turnaround before taking on Bath complicates the matter.

“It didn’t help certainly with the disjointed nature of our performance, but they look up and about and ok,” said Cullen post-match. “We had three head knocks and it’s important that we’re very careful in how we manage those guys.

They’ll go and do their return-to-play protocols and procedures and we’ll see how they are during the course of the week. It (the six-day turnaround) will put a little bit more pressure on us there.”

The current return-to-play protocols require players to come through five consecutive days of graded assessments, beginning with complete rest for O’Brien, Strauss and McCarthy tomorrow and building up towards contact and skills work on Friday, the day before Leinster face Bath.

If any of the players encounters negative symptoms at any stage of the procedure, they will not be cleared to move onto the next stage the following day and would therefore be ruled out of the Bath clash.

Ben Te’o (glute), Luke Fitzgerald (shoulder) and Rob Kearney (hamstring) all missed the defeat against Wasps today, and that trio also must prove their fitness ahead of the trip to The Rec.

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Isa Nacewa sits out todays game with a injury Isa Nacewa was in the stands at the RDS. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Captain Isa Nacewa was a further absentee, having jarred his knee in training earlier this week. Back row Rhys Ruddock is said to be carrying knocks too. Kearney appears to be the biggest doubt for the Bath fixture at this point, although there is some positivity that Fitzgerald will have recovered.

What is certain is that Cullen needs these key men fit for a huge European clash in six days time.

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Murray Kinsella

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