Saturday 19 January 2019

Murphy woe for Leinster

Shoulder operation to sideline flanker to eight weeks

Leinster's Jordi Murphy will be out of action for 2-3 months.

There is little chance of him being ready in time for the first two rounds of the Rugby Champions Cup from mid-October.

The Ireland flanker is in a race against the clock to make the November internationals as he works his way back from a shoulder operation last week.

Johnny Sexton faces a race against time to be fit for Ireland's autumn international Test series after breaking his jaw in club action with Racing Metro.

The fly-half could be sidelined for two months following a heavy clash with Craig Burden in Racing Metro's Top 14 contest with Toulon.

The 29-year-old will now fight to return quickly enough to be in contention for Ireland's three-Test autumn series, starting with South Africa's visit to Dublin on November 8.

Racing saw off reigning French and European champions Toulon 17-10 in Paris on Saturday, but Sexton was eventually withdrawn after an early clattering from Burden, with the South African hooker sin-binned for the challenge.

Ireland host Georgia and Australia following their South Africa clash in the autumn, with head coach Joe Schmidt keen to ramp up the long-range preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015.

Sexton is expected to complete a move back to Leinster from Racing Metro next summer to boost Schmidt and Ireland's World Cup build-up.

Former Leinster boss Schmidt was left hamstrung by his lack of control over the player, still Ireland's only frontline star plying his trade overseas.

Ulster's Paddy Jackson would be the front-runner to start in Sexton's absence after filling the fly-half understudy role last season. Leinster coach Matt O'Connor believes it will be "sooner rather than later" when Wallaby lock Kane Douglas will travel north for the winter.

The Wallaby international second row is currently involved in negotiations to cut short his contract with the Australian Rugby Union, due to close at the end of the calendar year, to allow an early release. "We've had a few positive conversations in relation to that and it will certainly be well in advance of that date," said O'Connor.

He is fully confident Douglas will "definitely" be in Dublin well before the beginning of the Champions Cup.

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