Johnny Sexton has been ruled as doubtful for Leinster’s pivotal Champions Cup clash with Toulouse this weekend.
Stuart Lancaster confirmed today that the Irish out-half and World Rugby Player of the Year has not trained with the provincial outfit since suffering a lower leg injury during Leinster’s inter-provincial clash with Munster on December 29.
Sexton is rated as 50/50 heading into Saturday’s crunch tie, and it is expected that Ross Byrne will stand in during training this week as they wait to discover if club captain, Sexton will be fit or not.
Lancaster also confirmed that Jack McGrath and Devin Toner are also carrying ‘niggles’ going into this weekend’s game.
“We’ve got one or two niggles. Jack [McGrath], obviously, he’s come back, so we’re delighted he’s come back but he’s not going to train today because we’re just managing him back. Johnny’s [Sexton] got a bit of a niggle. As has Dev [Toner]. So, we’re going to wait and see how they progress over the next 24 hours as well. So, it’s one of those weeks where we just have to so see how the next 24 hours plays out before we nail down selection and things will move into Thursday and Friday, we’ll be certain by then.
Lancaster confirmed that Devin Toner is carrying an ankle injury, but is confident that Leinster have enough in reserve to replace the towering lock.
“We’ll see. It’s hard to say. We haven’t trained and we don’t know how tomorrow is going to play out. But, if Dev is out then we got James Ryan, Scott Fardy etc etc. So there’s plenty of options so we’ll see.”
Sexton’s absence severely hampers Leinster’s chances against a rejuvenated Toulouse side who toppled the reigning Champions Cup holders on home soil in their round 2 clash.
However, Lancaster is adamant that should Sexton miss out, Ross Byrne is more than capable of stepping up in his place.
“Yeah, obviously. But on the flip side, you get Robbie back and on the downside you got this. But it’s just part of the way it is in any team. You look at the Toulouse team they’ve got the same issues. On the plus side for us, I’ve got absolutely no doubt that Ross Byrne is ready to play at this level, in this competition.”