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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ringrose out for months as Heaslip returns

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Jamie Heaslip returned to full training for Leinster out in Rosemount yesterday ahead of the start of the PRO14.

The Ireland number eight is in great physical condition again following a back operation in April.

In addition, Jonathan Sexton, Seán O'Brien, Robbie Henshaw and Tadhg Furlong are all scheduled to be back on track before the beginning of the Champions Cup in early October.

There is more worrying news about Garry Ringrose as he makes his way back from a shoulder operation.

The Ireland centre is described as "a few months away from a return to action", putting him more in line with the November internationals than the European Cup.

This leaves coach Leo Cullen with something of a conundrum in the centre.

With Ringrose apparently out of the picture for the first two rounds in Europe and Henshaw feeling his way back, there is a need to fill from within.

Now, Zane Kirchner has departed for The Dragons - Leinster will open their PRO14 campaign in Rodney Parade this Saturday - and inside centre inside centre Tom Daly will miss out on the first-half of the season after an operation on his anterior cruciate ligament.

This explains the selection of Academy Jimmy O'Brien at outside centre for Leinster's pre-season shot at Bath.

There are also the options of club captain Isa Nacewa and Fergus McFadden at twelve as well as Rory O'Loughlin at thirteen.

In terms of the most likely combination for October, Nacewa could take-up the post at twelve with Henshaw moving one-out to give Leinster physicality and experience.

Loose-head prop Peter Dooley (strained bicep), hooker Bryan Byrne (strained knee ligament), loose forward Peadar Timmins (calf) and centre Noel Reid (fractured hand) are all expected back within the new few weeks.

Elsewhere, Connacht have completed the signing of former-St Michael's College prop from Grenoble.

"We have an exciting season ahead with the new PRO14 Championship and the arrival of Denis will add to the competition for places in our front row," stated coach Kieran Keane.

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