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Monday 10 December 2018

Leavy looking unlikely for Bath

There is no return date for Dan Leavy. Pic: Sportsfile
There is no return date for Dan Leavy. Pic: Sportsfile

Leinster will go about their business as usual this week, even though there are a number of fitness and selection issues brewing for Europe.

They are slated for a PRO14 match away to the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday (Live TG4 & eir Sport 1, KO 5.15).

In that case, coach Leo Cullen will have to juggle what is necessary to take four points back from Wales along with how Ireland's November will impact on the European Champions Cup.

The likelihood is that the coach will take the majority of the men that crushed Ospreys at the RDS last Friday on the road to Newport.

Sadly, there is no return date for Dan Leavy, who mysteriously bowed out of Ireland's team to play New Zealand with a 'neck strain' the day before the match.

There is a temptation to see the similarity between Leavy's somewhat mysterious problem, which Ireland first painted as a matter of 'data protection,' and that of Conor Murray, who made his long-awaited return for Munster on Sunday.

The fact that fellow flanker Sean O'Brien has undergone surgery to his fractured forearm puts Josh van der Flier front and centre for Leinster's European cross-channel visit to English Premiership club Bath on Saturday week.

There could also be concern over Jack Conan, who left the Aviva on Saturday in a sling.

The bang to his AC joint in his shoulder means the number eight, impressive against the United States, will not make it for this Saturday.

This automatically places a concern over his ability to bounce back in time for Bath.

The 26-year-old is bang in form and earned the praise of Joe Schmidt this month.

Should Conan fail to recover in time, Cullen could turn to Rhys Ruddock or rely on either Max Deegan or Caelan Doris, two naturals in the position.

Meanwhile, Jordan Larmour has had a minor procedure to correct an issue with his knee.

As long as there is no setback, the 21-year-old should be able to resume training next week in what is another compromised area with Fergus McFadden and Joe Tomane out for the foreseeable future.

The fact Robbie Henshaw is not listed to return next week leaves Leinster looking short-handed across the three-quarter line.

At least, winger Barry Daly is back running from a knee injury with no return-to-play date given.

Munster-bound scrum-half Nick McCarthy was scheduled for one an 'imaging' picture to be taken yesterday.

He was withdrawn with a foot injury against the Ospreys on his first start of the season.

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