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Sunday 17 December 2017

Kearney and Ross doubtful for Castres

Rob Kearney (above) and Mike Ross remain injury doubts for Leinster ahead of their away date with Castres Olympique in the European Champions Cup on Sunday.

The Ireland first choice full-back and tight-head were ruled out of the home tie against Bath when respective back and groin injuries flared up late into last week.

This forced a reshuffle in the backline as the ever dependable Ian Madigan slotted into fifteen and the under-cooked Noel Reid made a good fist of inside centre.

Michael Bent defied all the doubters out there by doing a sound job as the cornerstone against a formidable Wasps front row.

Madigan and Bent could very well have to go again on Sunday with the banged up Gordon D'Arcy doing yesterday's session.

Luke Fitzgerald could be set for a place on the bench in the south of France or a hit out in the British & Irish Cup.

New signing Ben Te'o is an impressive physical specimen and he may also be re-routed to wear the Leinster jersey in the B&I away to Carmarthern Quins on Saturday.

At last, Leinster coach Matt O'Connor can begin to count the bodies rising rather than those falling as Shane Jennings (hamstring), Dan Leavy (knee), Dave Kearney (knee) and Jordi Murphy (shoulder) all returned to training.

In fact, the first three named could be in contention for action as quickly as the next round of the PRO12 against Edinburgh as long as none suffer any adverse reaction to their injuries.

Ireland duo Sean O'Brien (shoulder) and Cian Healy (hamstring) have both started the process of rehabilitation in the gym this week with the news that both operations went well.

They will target a return to play sometime into the New Year.

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