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O'Brien a major doubt for Pro14 final as Kearney recovers from head knock

The Leinster flanker is battling to overcome a hip problem in time for Saturday’s clash against Glasgow Warriors.

SEÁN O’BRIEN IS battling to shake off a hip injury in a bid to line out for Leinster one final time in Saturday’s Guinness Pro14 final against Glasgow Warriors. 

The flanker missed last weekend’s semi-final win over Munster after failing to come through the training week, and remains a major fitness doubt for the decider at Celtic Park [KO 6.30pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports].

Andrew Porter celebrates with Sean O'Brien after the game O'Brien with Andrew Porter after Saturday's win over Munster. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

O’Brien, who will move to London Irish next year, has endured another injury-plagued season having started just seven games for Leinster this term, including the Champions Cup final defeat to Saracens.

Although he didn’t specify what the issue was, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen last week said he hoped O’Brien would be fit and available should his side progress through to the Pro14 final.

But the Ireland international faces a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of Friday’s team announcement after missing training at UCD yesterday afternoon. 

“Seán O’Brien, he’s recovering from a hip problem or injury,” Felipe Contepomi confirmed on Monday. “He’s working hard to be selectable.”

O’Brien has previously been beset by a hip injury and was forced to undergo surgery on the issue back in January 2018, while his misfortune continued last November when he broke his arm against Argentina. 

Leinster are more optimistic over the fitness of Rob Kearney for this weekend after the fullback missed the last-four win over Munster with what has now been confirmed as a head knock.

Kearney sustained the injury against Sarries at St James’ Park and was forced to go through the return to play protocols last week. While passing all stages and partaking in Friday’s captain’s run, Leinster decided against risking the 33-year-old. 

“Rob had that return to play. He is training today and should be selectable,” Contepomi added.

Leinster will definitely be without Devin Toner this weekend due to the knee injury he sustained on Saturday, and while the second row awaits further scan results, it’s understood the damage is not severe enough to compromise his World Cup ambitions.

Toner is expected to be sidelined for a period of four to six weeks, and in his absence, Scott Fardy is set to partner James Ryan in the Leinster second row in Glasgow.  

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Ryan Bailey

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