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Monday 23 July 2018

Leinster sweating on Sexton's calf injury

Stuart Lancaster. Pic: Sportsfile
Stuart Lancaster. Pic: Sportsfile

Leinster will wait until later in the week to make a decision on the fitness of Jonathan Sexton.

The out-half incurred a calf injury from an innocuous contact, requiring Isa Nacewa to take over the place-kicking duties late on in the wonderful win over Exeter Chiefs.

The truncated nature of the six-day turnaround, compounded by the fact the coaches and players only returned to Dublin yesterday from a delayed flight, leaves just one training day tomorrow.

Senior coach Stuart Lancaster was effusive in his praise of his primary decision-maker.

"I think, for me, he's playing at the top of his game," said the former England coach.

"When I say the top of his game, that takes him into a world-class category."

Cumbrian Lancaster will remind his men that the psychological blow struck in Exeter is not terminal for the English champions, just yet.

"Exeter are too tough a team to break in that regard," he stated.

"I think other teams potentially can. But Exeter are too well coached and too tight as a group, too strong to break in that regard.

"They will 100pc back themselves because of their track record.

"They won the Premiership, they've won two out of two in Europe, they beat Montpellier away from home, they're a quality team.

"One setback won't distract them going into this game."

He places great significance on the hurt the Chiefs will use to renew their faith in what they have built.

"There's a huge value on these games because your motivation, your desire to improve your performance on the back of a loss, it gives you huge motivation as a team."

In return, Leinster will have to bring the same mindset at home that they did away. "Our motivation to improve on our performance in front our home crowd at the Aviva should be equally as strong," he said.

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