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Monday 25 September 2017

Sexton given all-clear to face Munster

JONATHAN SEXTON is in line for a recall to the Leinster squad for tomorrow's Magners League semi-final showdown with Munster at the RDS.

The out-half has not played since fracturing his jaw in the Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Clermont Auvergne on April 9, but it is understood that he had a plate removed this week and has been cleared to take part in tomorrow night's clash.

Australian Shaun Berne has been playing well in Sexton's absence and remains a solid option at 10, but coach Michael Cheika may opt to start the Ireland international, which would set up a fascinating tussle with Munster's Ronan O'Gara ahead of next week's squad announcement for next month's tour Down Under.

O'Gara, who steered Munster into the semi-finals with four penalties against the Cardiff Blues -- enough to earn the necessary losing bonus point -- looks certain to start at 10 for the champions, but the news on centre Keith Earls is less encouraging for Tony McGahan's men.

The Limerick youngster continues to struggle with the groin injury that has plagued him since the Six Nations, with Lifeimi Mafi available to resume his midfield partnership alongside Jean de Villiers. Doug Howlett could also return on the right wing with Denis Hurley and Paul Warwick completing Munster's back three.

Meanwhile, the Ospreys have been fined €116,000 and deducted four points for next season's Magners League for failing to fulfil their away fixture against Ulster on March 19.

The Welsh outfit, who face Glasgow in their play-off semi-final at the Liberty Stadium tonight, claimed they did not have sufficient front-row cover to play the tie, but a Celtic Disciplinary Panel found this explanation was unsatisfactory at a meeting in Glasgow yesterday.

The Ospreys were found to have breached tournament rules and so were fined and points-deduction sanctions were imposed.

The Ospreys have the right to appeal the decision.

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