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Dublin: 3°C Friday 22 January 2021

Brian O'Driscoll and Peter O'Mahony major doubts for Heineken Cup openers

Munster coach Rob Penney confirmed that his captain ‘certainly won’t be compromised’ if he fails to recover from a concussive blow.

Peter O'Mahony is assessed by Munster medics after taking a heavy blow.
Peter O'Mahony is assessed by Munster medics after taking a heavy blow.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

THE COMBATIVE NATURE of Munster’s 19 — 15 league win over Leinster at Thomond Park this evening has taken a heavy toll on both sets of players.

The victors look set to travel to Edinburgh for their Heineken Cup opener without captain Peter O’Mahony while Leinster are sweating on the fitness of Brian O’Driscoll after his replacement, Lote Tuqiri limped off with a a hamstring injury.

Medics from both sides were on the pitch frequently as both sides held little back in a fierce encounter. Mike McCarthy needed treatment twice in the first half but battled on. O’Mahony sustained a heavy blow near the end of the first half. He looked dazed but continued after two minutes of treatment. The flanker saw out the half but did not emerge after the break.

Munster coach Rob Penney told RTÉ, “I’m not sure of the [O'Mahony] prognosis there but, obviously, he took a knock. He’ll be monitored and well looked after during the week. If there are any issues there, he certainly won’t be compromised.”

O’Driscoll was ruled out of Leinster’s matchday 23 on Friday as the province cited a calf strain. Tuqiri, signed from rugby league side West Tigers on a three-month contract, made two breaks of note against Munster but looked off the pace for large sections of the game. Blues coach Matt O’Connor sympathised with the Australian after a hamstring tweak ended his involvement in the game.


Lote Tuqiri signals to the Leinster bench that he is injured. INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Speaking to RTÉ, O’Connor confirmed, “He strained that a couple of weeks ago against Glasgow and that looked pretty significant [tonight] so we’ll probably be without him for a couple of weeks.” He added:

It’s a 50/50 with Brian. We’ll have to wait and see whether we risk him or whether we don’t, relative to the soft tissue that might re-go like Lote’s. We’ll wait and see.”

O’Connor had no complaints with the yellow card, flashed at Ian Madigan by Romain Poite before Keith Earls’ crucial try. The former Leicester Tigers coach, however, did bemoan the lack of a card for either Paul O’Connell or Simon Zebo for deliberately slowing an early second-half attack.

A “rapt” Penney enjoyed his first win over Leinster at his third attempt as head coach but was careful not to gloat, cautioning that his team was far from the finished article.

“Look,” he said, “I suppose the team that comes out on top often look like they want it more. Leinster were desperate. They kept playing right until the end and breached us a couple of times. It was tight; there was nothing in it. Two good Irish teams having a titanic battle.”

As it happened: Munster v Leinster, RaboDirect Pro12

VIDEO: Keith Earls leaves Rob Kearney in his wake as Munster beat Leinster

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Patrick McCarry

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