Having missed his team’s PRO12 encounter against Edinburgh last weekend, Ireland international Rob Kearney is now facing further weeks on the sideline and could miss be a doubt for Leinster’s opening fixture against Castres in the Champions Cup next month.
The news was revealed by the province’s backs coach Girvan Dempsey, who admitted that the knee injury picked up by the full back is worse than initial thought. The problem forced Kearney to be replaced 59 minutes into the club’s game against Glasgow Warriors earlier this month.
Speaking at Leinster’s press briefing, Dempsey said:
“We’re hopeful that [Kearney] will be back before Europe.
“He’s strained his knee so he’s in a rehab programme at the moment. It’s gut-wrenching for him. He’d come back and he was like a new kid: re-energised, revitalised, back on the field, actually taking a lot of ownership in certain areas of our game, and moving really well.
“It’s just so disappointing for him to get that knock. He’s responded well to his initial rehab and we’re hopeful that he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”
Ahead of that clash with Castres at the RDS, Leinster have PRO12 fixtures with Ospreys and Cardiff Blues before taking on rivals Munster at the Aviva Stadium on October 8 – all games where the province could benefit from Kearney’s experience and attacking talents.
Dempsey also confirmed that fly-half Jonny Sexton’s return to training has gone as well as can be expected. The number 10, who is returning from a four month layoff with a shoulder injury, could be available for the game against the Ospreys but this won’t be confirmed until much closer to kick off.
The former Ireland international added: “He (Johnny) went through a good block of work last week in training and a couple of things to do in training today (Monday), but it all looks good.”
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