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Sean O'Brien to miss Toulon return leg as Triggs faces six weeks out

The Ireland back row remains ‘a couple of weeks’ away with his inner ear issue.

SEAN O’BRIEN IS set to miss Leinster’s home tie against Toulon next weekend as his inner ear issue continues to keep him sidelined.

Sean O'Brien O'Brien continues to struggle with vestibular impairment. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen says the Ireland international back row is still struggling with his balance due to vestibular impairment and reckons it will be “a couple of weeks” before O’Brien returns.

Meanwhile, Kiwi second row Hayden Triggs has undergone ankle surgery and faces six weeks on the sidelines.

Cullen says he had never before come across the issue O’Brien is currently dealing with, suggesting that the inner ear problem may have been an underlying issue for the flanker, rather than as a result of an impact in the defeat to Wasps.

Sean saw a specialist that he’s seen a few times, he went back at the start of the week,” said Cullen at Leinster’s UCD base this afternoon. “He’s still under fatigue, he’s still suffering a balance problem basically.

“He’s made good progress, but probably not quite enough. He’s getting closer, but we’re just not taking any risks with him. We’ll just make sure he’ll get rehabbed properly. It’s a slightly unusual issue, it’s being dealt with. He feels himself like he’s making good progress.

“When he gets under fatigue, if he did get a bang he’d be more susceptible to dizziness. With the rehab programme that’s in place, he’s on track and he’s making progress.

“We’ll send him back and get him assessed on a regular basis. I’m not sure about next week (at home to Toulon), but it’s a couple of weeks away. Next week is probably too soon.

Sean O'Brien and Fergus McFadden O'Brien has been taking a limited part in Leinster training. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“The issue is something that’s underlying since the World Cup maybe, since he came back into Leinster, he took a bang in the Wasps game and it’s similar to that concussion symptoms-wise but it seems to be more related to (his ear).

“The diagnosis is that it’s more related to this ear issue. It’s positive, he’s dealing with the ear specialist and has been there a few times now. At least he goes there and gets tested properly so we have some proper, objective markers.”

Cullen confirmed that Leinster will be without second row Triggs for six weeks after he underwent an operation on his ankle. The former Maori All Black’s absence is likely to mean further opportunities for promising lock Ross Molony.

Scrum-half Luke McGrath remains “another couple of weeks” away from his return after a medial ligament injury suffered in the home Pro12 win over Ulster, as he heals “slower than we’d have liked.”

Mick Kearney and Ed Byrne remain in rehab for foot and knee injuries respectively.

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Murray Kinsella

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