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Sexton emerges as injury doubt for Toulouse, but Henshaw back in contention

The Leinster captain is rated as ’50/50′ for Saturday’s crunch Heineken Champions Cup game with a lower leg injury.

JOHNNY SEXTON HAS not trained since sustaining a lower leg injury during Leinster’s inter-pro defeat to Munster two weekends ago and is now a major injury doubt for Saturday’s must-win clash against Toulouse.

The Ireland out-half sustained the problem at Thomond Park and is now rated as ’50/50′ for this weekend’s crucial Heineken Champions Cup Pool 1 encounter against the French side [KO 1pm, Virgin Media/Channel 4/BT Sport].

Johnny Sexton Sexton is a doubt for this weekend. Source: Inpho

Sexton won’t train with the Leinster squad at Donnybrook this afternoon and Ross Byrne will stand in at out-half during the session in his place, as the province wait to discover if their captain will be fit in time for Saturday.

Devin Toner is also an injury doubt for the visit of the Top 14 side to the RDS, and the second row will also sit out today’s squad session with an ankle problem, alongside Sexton and Jack McGrath after the prop made his injury comeback in Saturday’s Pro14 win over Ulster.

“We’ve got one or two niggles,” Stuart Lancaster said at UCD this afternoon.

“Jack, obviously, he’s come back, so we’re delighted he’s come back but he’s not going to train today because we’re just managing him back. Johnny’s got a bit of a niggle. As has Dev.

So, we’re going to wait and see how they progress over the next 24 hours as well. So, it’s one of those weeks where we just have to so see how the next 24 hours plays out before we nail down selection and things will move into Thursday and Friday, we’ll be certain by then.

Pressed on Sexton’s chances of being fit for Toulouse, the Leinster senior coach added: “It’s hard to say. We haven’t trained today yet and we don’t know how tomorrow is going to play out. But, if Dev is out then we got James Ryan, Scott Fardy etc etc. So there’s plenty of options so we’ll see.” 

There was a positive update on Robbie Henshaw, meanwhile, as the Ireland centre is set to return to team training under medical supervision and should he hit a number of markers today and tomorrow, will be back in contention for the must-win round five clash.

Henshaw has been sidelined since injuring his hamstring in the build-up to Ireland’s November Test victory over Argentina and was rated as a doubt for the start of the Six Nations campaign, but has made good progress in his rehabilitation programme. 

Robbie Henshaw Henshaw is in line for a shock return. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“If he’s fit and 100% ready to go, there’s no worry about him being up to speed,” Lancaster continued.

“He will need to come through all the markers before we are certain of his involvement, and whether that will be from the bench or in the starting XV.

“It’s huge for Ireland a well. This will not just be a Leinster decision, it’s an Ireland decision and he has to hit markers in conjunction with both, it would be foolish to do otherwise.

“We still have to see how he is in 24 hours. I’d say it’s 50/50 at the moment. We would like to consider him but we also don’t want to be foolish and rush it.” 

Fergus McFadden, Joe Tomane [both hamstring], Sean O’Brien [arm], Nick McCarthy [foot] and Will Connors [ACL] remain long-term absentees, while James Lowe serves the second game of his two-week suspension.

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Ryan Bailey

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