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Leinster squad update and Cian Healy preview

Guinness PRO12 Editor

19 Oct 2010

The Leinster squad stepped up their preparations on Tuesday morning ahead of Saturday’s Magners League clash against Connacht in the Sportsground, Galway (KO: 6.05pm).

Luke Fitzgerald sustained a knock during Leinster’s 25-23 victory over Saracens in Wembley on Saturday but an x-ray on Monday afternoon has revealed that he suffered bruising and it is expected that he should be fit to resume training on Thursday.

Brian O’Driscoll is progressing well from the hamstring strain he suffered against Racing-Métro 92 and at this stage he has not been ruled out of Saturday’s interprovincial derby, which will be Leinster’s fourth away Magners League encounter out of six.

Leo Cullen successfully came through his first appearance in six months as a second half replacement in London last weekend and is available for selection. Jonathan Sexton, who scored all 25 points for the province against Saracens, also came through the weekend unscathed after his recent quad injury.

Ed O’Donoghue (knee) is making good progress in his rehabilitation but is unlikely to be available this weekend.
The team is expected to be announced on Friday lunchtime.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s interprovincial derby, Leinster prop CIAN HEALY said that the squad are ready to face a stern examination against an in-form and improving Connacht side…

ON IRELAND: “I haven’t really thought about it (November series) because there are couple of big games coming up and these two ahead of us are important in the context of the Magners League. I’m obviously happy about the selection, but we want to get ourselves back on winning form (away) in the Magners League, so that’s our main focus now.”

ON A GRUELLING SCHEDULE: “It has been tough over the last three weeks with high emotion and high pressure games. It’s hard work on the body, but all of the lads know what to do and the recovery has been done. I think everybody’s going to be in good shape coming into (this weekend’s game in) the Sportsground.
“I was feeling a little bit tired myself, but we got a good rest after the weekend and there was no training on Monday and (then) we kicked it off again on Tuesday, so the body’s feeling alright at this stage.”

ON WINNING AWAY FROM HOME: “I thought we could have won bigger, but we were delighted to get the win and hopefully it’s onwards and upwards with that and we can get steadier form on the road and get our winning pattern together.
“Confidence in the squad is good but there are a few small parts that we need to nail down this week.
“A few basics have been letting us down, but we’ll work harder on them and hopefully try to build on last weekend.”

ON CONNACHT: “They’re an improving team and over the last couple of seasons they have been becoming stronger. Over the last couple of years the Leinster game was one of their targets and they probably saw it as a good opportunity to get one over us.
“There will be stiff opposition from them (on Saturday) and the Sportsground is a tough place to go. But a few of the Leinster boys will be going out there with a real point to prove that it’s not just big day occasions that we play for. We have had three big games lately and this is one where we can easily let the foot off the gas if we don’t come out with all guns firing.”

ON THE COMPETITIVE EDGE THIS WEEK: “There’s an extra edge, personally speaking, when you’re playing against players you know. It’s the same when you play against Munster or Ulster. You know the players from the Ireland camps and, although you never really say it, it’s good to get one over them even though you obviously still stay friends.”