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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019
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McGrath's knee injury the only blemish on Leinster's five-star afternoon

The scrum-half limped off in pain during the province’s big win over Toulouse this afternoon.

Ryan Bailey reports from the RDS 

LUKE MCGRATH WILL have a scan on his knee early next week to determine the extent of the injury he sustained during this afternoon’s Heineken Champions Cup victory over Toulouse at the RDS.

The Leinster scrum-half was helped from the field in considerable pain after going down during the build-up to his side’s third try, and Leo Cullen confirmed afterwards that he ‘has done a bit of damage’.

Luke McGrath goes off injured McGrath limped off at the RDS. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

McGrath’s injury was the only blemish on Leinster’s four-try performance as Cullen’s side completely dismantled the previously unbeaten Top 14 outfit to seize control of Pool 1 with a game to go.

“Lukey has done something to his knee, we’ll get that assessed. Other guys are not too bad, the usual bangs and bumps,” Cullen said post-match.

The sight of the 25-year-old limping off will be a concern for Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt just three weeks out from the start of the Six Nations, with Connacht’s Kieran Marmion still working his way back from ankle surgery and John Cooney a late withdrawal from Ulster’s clash with Racing 92 on Saturday afternoon.

Schmidt is due to Six Nations squad next week.

Leinster will also face an anxious wait to discover the exact prognosis on McGrath’s injury, given third-choice nine Nick McCarthy remains sidelined with a foot injury.

Cullen also said it was too early to say if any of the frontline internationals who missed the 29-13 win over Toulouse will be back fit for next Sunday’s round six game against Wasps in Coventry.

Johnny Sexton, Rob Kearney, Dan Leavy, Devin Toner and Robbie Henshaw were among those who watched on from the stands at the RDS this afternoon, as the defending European champions laid down a considerable marker.

The hosts produced a relentless display in both defence and attack to record their 12th straight home European win, to move back top of Pool 1 and show just why they’re the competition holders.

Jack Conan’s first-half try gave Leinster a 10-6 half-time advantage and a thunderous third quarter saw Cullen’s side streak ahead on the scoreboard, through scores from Dave Kearney, Cronin and then Adam Byrne.

“To get the win and bonus point is doubly pleasing,” the head coach continued.

“Conditions were difficult out there but we managed possession quite well in the first half. Toulouse had this big wall of defenders the whole time and our guys showed good patience to keep hold of the ball.

Dave Kearney scores a try despite Romain Ntamack Kearney goes over for Leinster's second try. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It was much better at the start of the second half where we played in their half of the field and picked off a few scores when they came along.

“I’m delighted for the guys, we had a lot of young guys out there today and it was a huge step up for them. We’re delighted to get that win. It was a very positive step for a lot of our younger guys.”

Leinster can secure a home quarter-final with victory over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena next weekend. 

“For us, it’s about looking forward now because there is a lot of work to do to top the group,” Cullen added.

It’s a tough challenge for us going to the Ricoh, it’s a place we had a tough day out in a few years ago. It’s a good challenge for us.

“You get to this point and you try and make things as easy as you possibly can for yourself in the tournament.

“We have eight days now and we’ll see what guys pull through. It was a pretty physical game out there.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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