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Friday 28 April 2017

Cullen waits on Conan for Champions Cup

Leinster's Jack Conan. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Jack Conan. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster coach Leo Cullen has already lost Jamie Heaslip for The Champions Cup semi-final on Sunday week.

Jack Conan was due to be assessed yesterday to review the damage done to his neck, an injury that forced his removal against The Ospreys on Saturday.

This leaves Rhys Ruddock waiting in the wings to continue in place of Conan should the need arise.

The versatile loose forward is just back from a calf injury in what is a position of concern for Leinster.

At the moment, Heaslip (lower back), full-back Rob Kearney (knee) and Jordi Murphy (anterior cruciate ligament) are the only ones outside the wire.

Certainly, scrum coach John Fogarty was unimpressed at what he saw from Leinster in the review of the first quarter at The Ospreys.

"I thought we lacked energy," he said. "Leo said it after the match, that sometimes you come off that Wasps game and you can get a bit of a dip.

"You are aware of it and you make the players aware of it.

"I could see it in some of the scrum stuff and some of the ruck work.

"We were second best in some of those areas early in the game and that gave them momentum."

It is just as well Leinster will have the significant matter of an Inter-provincial derby in Galway to make amends in attitude.

If they stand off Connacht, they will be chasing the game.

"We will absolutely get that intensity," said Fogarty.

"You look at Connacht's home games this year, so far, and they are really difficult games to play.

"Connacht are incredibly difficult to play against when you have the ball.

"When they have the ball they are a deadly team. They can stretch you in defence."

Coach Stuart Lancaster will have to have his players primed to shut down The Westerners' insatiable pursuit of their wide game.

"I know Stuart (Lancaster) is excited about this week because this is a unique team to defend against," added Fogarty.

"They attack in a different way to a lot of other teams and they have that ambition to attack which creates a lot of issues and opportunities for them."

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