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McLaughlin’s close to return

Guinness PRO12 Editor

30 Dec 2010

Magners League ambassador Kevin McLaughlin is ready to return to action for the first time since being carried off on a stretcher in last season’s inaugural Grand Final against the Ospreys.

The Leinster and Ireland back row man suffered a serious knee injury that required surgery and forced him to miss the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia as well as the first half of the Magners League campaign.

McLaughlin also underwent surgery on his shoulder at the same time and has needed a lengthy recovery period. But now he is fully repaired and back to fitness he could well feature in the inter-pro derby clash with Connacht at the RDS on Saturday.

"I'm pretty confident Kevin will be available, although what role he plays in the game we're not sure yet. It will depend how he comes through training," said Leinster coach Joe Schmidt.

"He was to be fitness tested about a week and a half ago, but we couldn't get on the field to do the full spectrum of tests.

"He's going to try that out and he'll train again this week and, hopefully, we'll see him back on the pitch because he's a really good player."

Leinster, who moved into the play-off places with their big win over Ulster at Ravenhill earlier in the week, are also hoping to have centre Eoin O'Malley fit to resume after his recovery from the rib injury he suffered in the first Heineken Cup clash with ASM Clermont Auvergne.