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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

Full extent of Sean O'Brien injury still to be seen, but Sexton 'flying' ahead of Pro12 semi

‘Obviously it doesn’t look good,’ says Kurt McQuilkin, but there is no such concern over Jonathan Sexton’s involvement.

Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

LEINSTER DEFENCE COACH Kurt McQuilkin admits ‘it doesn’t look good’ for Sean O’Brien’s hope of being fit before the end of the season, but the province will wait before issuing a conclusive update on the flanker.

The Tullow Tank has been out of action since suffering a severe hamstring injury in the Six Nations defeat to France in Paris.

Leinster had hoped to have the openside back available ahead of this weekend’s Pro12 semi-final against Ulster, but the 29-year-old “broke down” in the days before the win over Treviso.

“We’re still waiting on the medical report on that later in the week,” McQuilkin said cautiously at the province’s Clonskeagh base today.

“But obviously it doesn’t look good.”

The prognosis is much better for out-half Jonathan Sexton who has “been flying around in training,” since picking up a fresh knock to his neck and shoulder.

Luke Fitzgerald has also returned to training after ‘tweaking’ his medial ligament late on in the loss to Ulster. The defence coach adds that Rob Kearney ‘is making good progress’ with his ankle injury, though neither are likely to prove their fitness in time for Friday’s semi-final at the RDS, a game which is now a 19,100 sell-out despite an increased capacity for the knock-out game.

With Josh van der Flier already ruled out for eight weeks and O’Brien’s summer uncertain to say the least, Leo Cullen’s back row has at least been boosted by the sight of Jack Conan playing 40 minutes against Ireland U20s after a foot injury has plagued his season.

Loosehead Cian Healy will also receive a mention in the medical update to come later this week, ‘wear and tear’ is currently the reason given for his absence from Leinster team-sheets and he is training separately from the squad.

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Sean Farrell

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