Leinster’s response to last weekend’s dramatic defeat in Glasgow will be powered by the return away to Edinburgh on Friday of Jamie Heaslip and a trio of other Irish international forwards for their seasonal debuts.
Heaslip, Jack McGrath, Devin Toner and Sean Cronin are all due to be unleashed on Alan Solomon’s side in round three of the Guinness PRO12 and they may be joined by Mike Ross who sat out round two with a minor quad issue having featured off the bench on the opening day.
It is an impressive roll call of reinforcements for Leo Cullen’s pack, although it was balanced out somewhat yesterday by the news luckless Rob Kearney was undergoing a scan on a knee issue picked up in that 33-25 loss at Scotstoun over the weekend.
Kearney spent long periods on the sidelines last term with hamstring issues. Ruled out for this week’s encounter, it remains to be seen how long the latest absence stretches on for although the initial hope is that he is dealing in weeks and not months.
That aside, there were no unfavourable casualty updates to report and Fogarty is hopeful the inexperience and lack of leadership evident when letting slip a commanding second-half lead in Glasgow can be rectified with the return of so much experience.
“There certainly is experience on the sideline at the moment that will count for a lot,” the forwards coach explained. “There was a bit of a dip (in Glasgow). I’m on the field and you can feel a bit of a dip in the players a bit, which is understandable for the group that’s out there. There’s huge learnings in it: little inaccuracies at the weekend and how do we address them.”
Cian Healy is typical of where Leinster find themselves right now.
Cursed for the last number of seasons with a litany of injuries, the loosehead prop has banked over 100 minutes in the early dates with Benetton Treviso and Glasgow Warriors although Fogarty admits there is still progress to be made.
The Ireland and Lions forward may be some way from the dominant presence he was at his best but his rehabilitated shoulder joint is holding up to every challenge and Fogarty agrees that it is a case of achieving stability before total superiority.
“Yeah, there’s a little bit of that in the scrum and with Cian as well so it’s (about) putting the reins on him a small bit.
“He’s hugely powerful and has a huge amount of experience. It is knowing what time is the best time to go and what’s the best thing for the scrum.
“I thought he had a great day (in Glasgow). Like I said, he’ll be frustrated he wasn’t more dominant.
“We didn’t get penalties, we launched one hundred per cent of the ball but he didn’t get penalties out of the game and he always wants more, like a lot of those forwards.”
Meanwhile, Connacht have announced wing Niyi Adeolokun has signed a new deal which will keep the Nigerian-born 25-year-old at the province through to the summer of 2019.
He has already completed two terms at the Sportsground.
“As the fastest member of our squad, he is a very exciting rugby player with a huge amount of talent,” said head coach Pat Lam.
“But what impresses us the most with Niyi is his willingness to put in the hard work and consistently look for areas he can improve.”
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