Sexton and Ryan recovering well as Six Nations approaches

Sexton and Ryan recovering well as Six Nations approaches

Johnny Sexton remains on track to be fit for Andy Farrell's Six Nations baptism next month – but he will not feature against Benetton this weekend.

The Leinster out-half has been out of action since injuring knee ligaments against Northampton on December 7, missing the return leg against the English Premiership side, the three festive interpros and last weekend's Champions Cup win over Lyon.

Leinster must win in Italy on Saturday to nail down top seeding in the European competition, but they're not taking any risks on their No. 10.

“Johnny is very professional and he is looking good,” said Leo Cullen. “But definitely, he won't make it this weekend. Hopefully, he will be fit to at least be in contention for [Six Nations] selection.

“He is looking good and recovering well. He has always been a remarkable professional throughout his life, so that makes it easier for when he picks up an injury to recover. That's what he is doing, he has been really good.”

James Ryan, who injured his calf in the Christmas win over Connacht, resumed training today, but an assessment will be made later in the week over his availability to travel to Treviso.

“It's not been that long since he got injured so we are taking it day-by-day,” Cullen said. “I think he is making good progress, but with that type of injury, every hour counts nearly. We need to take it day-by-day.

“He is doing great. I think when you are as fit and young as he is, sometimes the recovery goes faster. It's great for him but we will have to wait and see.

“It's too early [for Benetton] because it is a muscular injury. You have to asses it. He might go out and train or get up to speed and then you have a setback. You can't tell much.

“It's not definitely a guarantee. If he can make it, good, but if not, we need to keep trucking.”

Rónan Kelleher, who was expected to push for a first Six Nations squad inclusion, remains on the unavailable list with a hand injury, but the youngster is close to a return.

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