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Dublin: 0°C Saturday 10 April 2021

Ruddock pushing for Leinster return but Leavy and McGrath remain sidelined

The flanker will step up his recovery from a hamstring injury ahead of Friday’s clash against the Cheetahs.

RHYS RUDDOCK WILL step up his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury this week as he bids to get back fit for Friday’s Guinness Pro14 clash against the Cheetahs at the RDS [KO 7.35pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports].

The flanker was unavailable for Ireland’s Six Nations win over Italy in Rome after sustaining the hamstring problem in training a fortnight ago, but will increase his workload in the coming days. 

Rhys Ruddock Ruddock will increase his training load this week. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Ruddock — named in Joe Schmidt’s initial Six Nations squad — will continue to be assessed by the Leinster medical team before a decision on his availability for Friday’s round 17 encounter will be made later in the week. 

“It’s hard to give a percentage or say something for certain,” Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi said this afternoon. “We will increase his training load and if he comes through that, he will be available. He is closer to getting back to playing.”

Leo Cullen will continue to be without Dan Leavy [calf] and Luke McGrath [knee] for the visit of the Cheetahs, but both players are making positive progress in their respective comebacks.

Leavy hasn’t played since the Pro14 inter-pro victory over Connacht before Christmas and the flanker is running out of time if he has designs on featuring in the final two rounds of Six Nations action.

Scrum-half McGrath, meanwhile, won’t return in time for this weekend but Leinster hope to ease him back into team training later in the week after his knee injury. 

Mick Kearney, who sustained a knock to his shoulder in the win over Southern Kings last Friday, will be assessed further during the week. 

Joe Tomane [hamstring], Will Connors [ACL] and Nick McCarthy [foot] are all making progress on the comeback trail and have all returned to on-field running sessions, but there was no update on Devin Toner as he recovers from ankle surgery. 

After last weekend’s 59-19 win over the Kings, Leinster hold a 22-point advantage at the top of Pro14 Conference B heading into Friday night. 

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Ryan Bailey

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