Thursday 21 November 2019

Reds can call on Carbery and Earls

Fit: Joey Carbery. Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Fit: Joey Carbery. Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

It looks like Sean O'Brien might have played, or at least started, his last game for Leinster.

The Ireland and British & Irish Lions icon of the South-East looks vulnerable in selectionon his last Inter-provincial in the PRO14 League semi-final against Munster at the RDS on Saturday afternoon (KO2.30, Eirsport 1).

Fellow flanker Josh van der Flier has made a miracle recovery from his groin surgery to complete an 8-week rehabilitation of a 12-week injury. Jamison Gibson-Park will also be knocking on Leo Cullen's door, the scrum-half healing from a hamstring strain.

Centre Joe Tomane has been ruled out with a hamstring issue, picked up in training last week.

Leinster were reported to be surprisingly unimpeded by the extreme physicality of the Champions Cup.

Even so, they look vulnerable to Johann van Graan's Munster, who have not been without their issues in the last week.

This forced the coach into a defence of the contracts turned down by his assistants Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones.

"I believe we did everything we could. I'm really sad to see them going," he said.

"Now, we have a few voids to fill.

"First up is the semi-final with Leinster and then the process will be on-going to find their replacements."

Meanwhile, Joey Carbery, Keith Earls and Rhys Marshall have been cleared to return to training this week.

Munster's two most creative backs will broaden the canvass of their attacking strategy.

Carbery's willingness to express his talent will give van Graan more options than the pedestrian pacing of Tyler Bleyendaal.

The 'have a go' mentality of Earls makes him a difficult proposition to handle.

Hooker Marshall has been an under-rated influence in what could be a back-up role in behind Niall Scannell.

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