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Leinster's injured trio could return for Champions Cup showdown with Saracens

Luke McGrath, Rhys Ruddock and Sean O’Brien are all nearing returns.

ALTHOUGH TIME IS against them, Luke McGrath, Sean O’Brien and Rhys Ruddock could all return to boost Leinster for their Champions Cup quarter-final showdown with Saracens on Sunday week.

Luke McGrath Luke McGrath is expected to return for Leinster this weekend. Source: Byran Keane/INPHO

McGrath sustained a knee injury in the Pro14 win over Scarlets at the beginning of the Six Nations period but having returned to full training, is expected to be involved in the province’s visit to Ospreys on Saturday [KO 7.35pm].

O’Brien and Ruddock are both touch and go to be fit in time for next weekend with neither training this week ahead of the resumption of Leinster’s Pro14 campaign in Wales.

After returning to action from a hip complaint in the away fixture with Scarlets earlier this month, O’Brien’s comeback was short-lived as he was forced off with a shoulder injury in the first half at Parc y Scarlets.

Leo Cullen admits it has been a frustrating time for the flanker having been sidelined since early December.

“It has settled down pretty well,” the Leinster head coach said. “Sean is still rehabbing but he’s mad keen to get back. It took longer than originally planned to get back from hip.

“He’s not a million miles away, see how he comes through the next few days and we’ll know a bit more then.

“It’s not beyond the realms of possibility he’ll play next week [v Saracens]. He’s done a lot of training, to get back [from the hip] and he’s turned it around pretty well. He’s not too far off.

“It’s very hard to be definitive with some of these injuries — injuries make liars out of us.”

Sean O'Brien goes off injured O'Brien has played just five games for Leinster this season. Source: Ian Cook/INPHO

As is the case with O’Brien, Cullen was unable to provide a definitive answer on the fitness of Ruddock, who has been out of action for the last four months after hamstring surgery.

The flanker hasn’t returned to full team training but has resumed running and could yet be considered for Saracens, providing there is no setback in his progress over the coming days.

Cullen will name his team to face Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium at midday today with a number of Grand Slam winners, including Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour and Sean Cronin, set to be involved in the round 18 clash.

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