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Thursday 20 June 2019

Toner dodges World Cup bullet

INJURY: Devin Toner. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
INJURY: Devin Toner. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Devin Toner has dodged the bullet to his knee that could have ended a World Cup dream.

The second row will be out of the game for 4-6 weeks with a medial ligament strain.

Everyone feared the worst when Toner was left crumpled in obvious distress from an awkward fall and the weight of Dave Kilcoyne coming down on top of his knee.

The cornerstone piece to Ireland's set-piece was unable to depart The RDS under his own steam.

He was also seen using a crutch in the aftermath of the battle at The RDS, leaving Leinster and Ireland waiting on a scan and a prayer.

Thankfully, the growing fear over Toner's Autumn has been defused.

Protocols

More immediately, Rob Kearney has recovered from return-to-play protocols following a blow at the end of the Champions Cup final.

The full-back made it back by last Friday - he took part in the Captain's Run - too late to be considered for the PRO14 semi-final.

The return of Seán O'Brien from a hip injury is not as straight forward. The flanker looks like a serious doubt to make it through for consideration in what will be the last game in his Leinster career.

Munster's fourth-choice out-half Bill Johnston behind Joey Carbery, Tyler Belyendaal and JJ Hanrahan has taken the decision to join Ulster in the summer.

The talented 22-year-old's main concern will be staying healthy long enough to realis his undoubted potential.

"This is a great opportunity for me to test myself in an exciting new environment and develop my game under Dan (McFarland) and the other coaches," said Johnston.

Right direction

"It's an organisation that's clearly moving in the right direction.

"That's something I really want to be part of and I can't wait to make the move to Belfast and get stuck into pre-season training."

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