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Henshaw 'less than likely' to be fit for Ulster after visiting UK specialist

The Leinster centre will increase his training load in the coming days ahead of Saturday’s European showdown against Ulster.

ROBBIE HENSHAW IS running out of time to prove his fitness for Leinster’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster this weekend, as the centre continues his comeback from a dead leg injury.

The Ireland international hasn’t played since starting at fullback against England at the start of February, and Leo Cullen today confirmed Henshaw visited a specialist in the UK in a bid to get to the bottom of the issue.

Robbie Henshaw Henshaw is due to train with Leinster this week. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

While Henshaw is ‘less than likely’ to be fit for Saturday’s European inter-pro at the Aviva Stadium [KO 5.45pm, BT Sport], he is making further progress in his rehabilitation and will increase his training load in the coming days.

“He’s back running at the moment and we’ll see how he comes through,” Cullen, speaking at Leinster HQ, said this afternoon. 

“Whatever way the tear in the muscle was…the dead leg was initially what the cause of concern was but there was a little bit more damage a bit deeper in.

So it was a little bit unusual, probably, from initially the way it presented, obviously as a dead leg.

“He had a little minor procedure done but I couldn’t get into the technicalities of that.”

The Leinster head coach added: “He had to get a little bit of further investigation into what was going on there, because it was taking a little bit longer than we initially thought but he’s making good progress.”

Should Henshaw fail to come through for Ulster, Cullen will likely look to Rory O’Loughlin to renew his midfield partnership with Garry Ringrose, while Joe Tomane is also an option after returning to action against Edinburgh last Friday.

Tomane came through his first game back from hamstring surgery unscathed as Leinster slipped to a Pro14 defeat at Murrayfield, but Noel Reid will have to come through the graduated return to play protocols after sustaining a head knock during the 28-11 loss.

Ross Byrne was a late withdrawal from the province’s starting XV after reporting tightness in his foot during the captain’s run on Thursday and will be further assessed this week, but Luke McGrath, Dan Leavy and Nick McCarthy all came through with no fresh issues. 

“It was pleasing from the Edinburgh game to get guys through, and they have worked hard to get back,” Cullen continued. “They all seemed to come through relatively okay and it gives us a few more options going into this week.”

Seán Cronin was taken off at half-time in Edinburgh as a precaution after suffering a bang to the head, with Cullen allaying concerns over the hooker’s fitness for the sold-out Aviva Stadium showdown against the northern province.

Devin Toner [ankle] remains sidelined, while Will Connors [ACL] is making positive progress in his recovery. 

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Ryan Bailey

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