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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018

Leinster confident McGrath will recover from knee injury in time for Saracens

A major relief for the province as the scrum-half’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

McGrath had a scan on his knee yesterday.
McGrath had a scan on his knee yesterday.
Image: Byran Keane/INPHO

LUKE MCGRATH IS unlikely to feature again during Ireland’s Six Nations campaign, but Leinster are confident the scrum-half will be fit for their Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens on 1 April.

The 25-year-old was replaced shortly into the second half of the province’s Pro14 victory over Scarlets on Saturday and has been replaced in Joe Schmidt’s squad for Wales by Ulster’s John Cooney.

McGrath had a scan on Sunday and news of no significant damage will come as a great relief to Leinster, particularly when his departure from the RDS pitch at the weekend raised fears over his long-term fitness.

Garry Ringrose, meanwhile, will train with Leinster this afternoon, and not Ireland, despite being called up by Schmidt and a decision over his availability for the weekend — whether it’s against Wales or the Kings — will be made later in the week.

Leo Cullen’s side face into a six-day turnaround ahead of the visit of the South African side to the RDS on Friday [KO 7.35pm, TG4] and are likely to be without Rory O’Loughlin and Ross Byrne who both picked up injuries in the win over Scarlets.

O’Loughlin was involved in a heavy collision with Steff Hughes early in the first half and has now entered the return to play protocols, while Byrne took a knock to his hip.

Sean O’Brien also remains unavailable for selection as he continues to rehab a hip problem which has kept him sidelined since early December, although James Tracy (elbow) is nearing his return.

Captain Isa Nacewa is expected to come back into contention for selection after sitting out the 20-13 win over the defending Pro12 champions, which moved Leinster three points clear at the top of Conference B.

There was no further update on the fitness of Cathal Marsh (toe), Josh van der Flier (knee), Rhys Ruddock (hamstring), Jamie Heaslip (lower back) and Tom Daly (knee), who all remain long-term absentees.

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Schmidt calls up Scannell, Cooney and Ringrose to Ireland’s Six Nations squad

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Ryan Bailey

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