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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019

'Last week he did everything he could': O'Brien came close to facing Saracens, Henshaw beating a path to Scarlets

Both Ireland internationals are making their way back from shoulder injuries.

The midlands men in training with Ireland in November.
The midlands men in training with Ireland in November.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

ROBBIE HENSHAW IS working to keep his involvement in the Champions Cup semi-final a possibility, however slim.

The centre underwent shoulder surgery after a horrible landing as he scored a try in the Six Nations win over Italy in February. However, after making positive noises as he reached ‘the halfway point’ in his predicted 10-week recovery a fortnight ago, Leinster’s medical team have him on track to be available in or around Scarlets’ visit to Dublin.

“Speaking with the lads who’ve been working with Robbie over the last few weeks, they’ve been hugely impressed with how fast he’s gotten to the stage he’s at,” said Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty yesterday.

“They’re talking very positively about Robbie right now, which is really really good.”

The timeline is tight and Henshaw remains unlikely to feature against either Zebre or Benetton in the coming weeks. However, Rhys Ruddock’s replacement role on Sunday is a prime example that game-time needn’t be a prerequisite to book a spot in a big-game matchday 23.

In the case of Sean O’Brien, however,  every minute on the field before 21 April will be invaluable.

Leinster’s injury update yesterday listed O’Brien as one of the men ‘being assessed’ ahead of Saturday’s visit of Zebre and Fogarty insisted that the Lion was close to being ready for the win over Saracens.

“Last week he did everything he could and everyone did everything they could to make him right. He felt himself (on) Thursday he wasn’t confident that he could put himself out there and do the job properly.”

Fogarty adds: “He needs to get back, and he needs to be training first, training well, and he needs to be up to speed, taking levels of contact and so on before he can get back.”

“Sean has markers to hit this week again… last week we felt he was close, he didn’t quite get there. He has to hit markers now, and whether he is going to be involved at the weekend or not, I don’t know.

“He is desperate to get back. The group is very competitive and it’s important at this stage that we don’t settle. He adds so much, off the pitch or even in training sessions.”

Leinster hope to have Larmour and Conan in full training before Scarlets semi-final clash

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Sean Farrell

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