Devin Toner’s World Cup ambitions remain intact with the news that the Leinster second row faces just a 4-6 week recovery period from the knee injury suffered against Munster in last week’s Guinness PRO14 semi-final.
The veteran, an infrequent visitor to sick bays for most of his career, had already missed a sizeable chunk of game time earlier in the season with an ankle injury but looks good to join up with Joe Schmidt’s squad for the World Cup build-up.
Leinster will have to make do without him for this week’s PRO14 decider against Glasgow however, while Sean O’Brien is “working hard to be selectable” for the game, according to assistant coach Felipe Contepomi.
O’Brien didn’t feature against Munster due to a hip problem but the impressive return to action of Josh van der Flier after months out with a groin injury would curb any blow landed should O’Brien fail to make it.
“Josh is a great example of how hard everyone works here,” said Contepomi.
He’s been well ahead of initial schedule. The way he came back and played that game for his first game back, and having the performance he did, fair play to him.
Rob Kearney, meanwhile, is ready and available. The full-back was another to sit out the penultimate round with what has belatedly been revealed to be a concussion that required the player to pass return to play protocols.
Leinster explained yesterday that Kearney had suffered the knock at the end of the Champions Cup decider against Saracens two weekends ago and, while he took part in last Friday’s captain’s run, it was decided not to risk him.
Meanwhile, Nigel Owens will be the man in the middle for the encounter. It will be the Welsh official’s sixth Celtic League decider. He has also refereed half-a-dozen European Cup finals and the 2015 World Cup final.
He will be assisted by John Lacey (IRFU) and Mike Adamson (SRU).