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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 23 March, 2019
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Heaslip injury relief for Leinster as Marty Moore gets set for comeback

The Leinster captain was forced off in the first half against Ulster last weekend.

Heaslip receives attention to his right shoulder on Saturday.
Heaslip receives attention to his right shoulder on Saturday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that Jamie Heaslip’s shoulder injury is not as bad as first feared, with the number eight likely to return for the Champions Cup clash against Castres on 17 January.

Heaslip was replaced after 27 minutes of Leinster’s win over Ulster on Saturday afternoon, his first in-game injury since December 2010.

However, the Ireland international is recovering with characteristic ease and may even be available for this weekend’s Pro12 clash away to Cardiff Blues.

The news comes as a relief to Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt too, with Heaslip such a vital component of the national team.

“Jamie got a bang on his shoulder,” said Leinster assistant coach Marco Caputo this afternoon.

It’s been scanned and there’s nothing significant there that is worth further investigation, so we’re hopeful that the healing or medicinal powers that he seems to have get him through and he’ll be available. It’s business as usual.”

Caputo said Leinster have a “level of comfort” at number eight due to the form of Jack Conan this season, and admitted the province may look to rest Heaslip ahead of back-to-back European fixtures against Castres and Wasps.

“We could do. Obviously the two Champions Cup games are fairly important for us, but also we’ve got to be mindful that we’ve got to keep building the momentum this weekend against Cardiff. It’s a bit of a balancing act.”

Jamie Heaslip injured Injuries to Heaslip are a rare sight. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Meanwhile, tighthead prop Marty Moore is expected to be part of the Leinster matchday 23 in Cardiff, having recovered fully from shoulder surgery.

Caputo stated that 23-year-old “probably could have played at the weekend [against Ulster] at a pinch,” but Leinster erred on the side of caution. Moore’s return after 12 weeks out will be a boost for the province and Ireland.

Ben Te’o came through a short stint off the bench against Ulster to prove his fitness, and Caputo hinted that the former rugby league player will be more involved at Cardiff Arms Park.

“I guess the biggest thing for Ben is getting the ghosts out of his head,” said Caputo of the centre, who fractured his forearm on his Leinster debut in October. “He got five or six minutes but carried the ball a few times.

He’s another one that’s going to push himself forward for the matchday 23. If we do go with Ben, it’ll be a unique experience for him starting in an away match against Cardiff on the synthetic pitch.

“It’s something he’s not experienced before, but at this stage of the season if we’ve got fresh bodies there and they’re available, we’ll include them.”

Caputo also revealed that Leinster are hopeful of having Shane Jennings back this weekend in Cardiff, after the 33-year-old pulled out of the Ulster clash with hamstring tightness.

Ben Te'o and Rob Kearney Ben Te'o [left] came through his short spell against Ulster unscathed. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Having spent 12 weeks out with an injury to the same hamstring earlier this season, Jennings had felt it prudent not to push the muscle too far.

“He felt that if he kept going he was putting himself at risk of re-injuring the hamstring,” explained Caputo, “so he actually made the call himself that he didn’t feel right to play and, in hindsight, probably did the right thing.”

Eoin Reddan and Rob Kearney both came through a full programme of training last week and are available once again.

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We could have heard the best one-liner in refereeing history in the Pro12 over the weekend

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Murray Kinsella

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