Leinster trio to miss Reds clash

THREE key Leinster players, including Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll, are unlikely to play any part in the Magners League clash with Munster on Friday.

O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy and Shane Horgan are all sidelined as the Heineken Cup champions seek to stay ahead of the European posse with a home quarter final against Clermont Auvergne on Friday week at the RDS (8 pm).

Leinster coach Michael Cheika is confident the injury problems within the camp will improve to give his side a European boost, but Friday will come too soon for the international trio.

“We had a pretty positive week on the rehab side and everyone is feeling pretty good. We will inject a little bit of fresh energy this week, change it around afterwards and then decide on the final composition for the quarter-final match pretty early next week. Hopefully, the players (injured) will be back by then,” he said.

Meanwhile further afield, Biarritz put a season of indifferent form behind them to dent Toulouse’s French Championship ambitions at the Stade Anoeta on Saturday.

The 26-10 victory for Munster’s potential Heineken Cup semi-final opponents offers them a flicker of hope for a Top 14 play-off but they need Racing Metro to slip up badly to enable an unlikely elongation of their season.

Toulouse were superb in patches but dreadful in others. They will now have to rely on other results going their way if they are to finish in the top two.

Toulouse scored the only try late on with a brilliant backs move that culminated in Maxime Medard going over in the corner. However, it left to the hosts to raise the roof in the final minute, with Taku Ngwenya breaking from turnover ball and Traille finishing off in the corner.

What made it worse for Toulouse was that Perpignan, Castres and Clermont all won. Perpignan’s glittering 44-23 success over Stade Francais effectively ends the Parisians’ domestic season, while Clermont and Castres’ victories mean there are now three teams tussling over automatic qualification for the semi-finals.

Clermont, who face Leinster at the RDS in the Heineken Cup semi final on Friday week, remain in third but they remain a live candidate to finish top of the pile after their 41-3 defeat of Montpellier.

* WALES number eight Gareth Delve is to join new franchise Melbourne Rebels for their debut Super 15 campaign on a two-year deal. He will join England fly-half Danny Cipriani next season.

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