The Leinster squad have stepped up their preparations ahead of Saturday night’s trip to Thomond Park to face Munster in the RaboDirect PRO12 (KO: 7.30pm).
Friday’s defeat to the Ospreys came at a cost with Jamie Hagan (damaged rib cartilage) in doubt for this week. There is better news in that fellow tight-head prop Nathan White (bruised cheek) could make the trip to Limerick and he will continue to be monitored by the Leinster medical staff this week.
A final decision on his availability will be made at Friday’s midday team announcement.
Leo Cullen and Brian O’Driscoll both successfully came through their first appearances since their respective (two month and four month) injury lay-offs in a game which also marked Brad Thorn’s debut.
David Kearney, who has made 16 appearances so far this season, sustained a cut above his eye which required stitches, but the Cooley man will be available for selection.
The management look set to welcome back Gordon D’Arcy, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney, Sean O’Brien, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross and Jonathan Sexton after their involvement with Ireland in the Six Nations.
There are several significant landmarks for two Leinster stalwarts. Wexford centre Gordon D’Arcy’s next appearance will be his 200th for the province, a milestone only bettered by Shane Horgan (207 caps). D’Arcy has played 14 years of professional rugby since making his debut away to Edinburgh in September 1998.
Luke Fitzgerald, meanwhile, is very close to becoming the 18th player in Leinster history to reach the 100 cap mark. In doing so, he will follow in the footsteps of the following players (in date order): Shane Byrne, Victor Costello, Reggie Corrigan, Brian O’Meara, Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie, Gordon D’Arcy, Shane Horgan, Malcolm O’Kelly, Emmett Byrne, Keith Gleeson, Leo Cullen, Brian O’Driscoll, Felipe Contepomi, Jamie Heaslip, Shane Jennings and Rob Kearney.
Ticket sales for Leinster’s next home match, the Heineken Cup quarter final against the Cardiff Blues in the Aviva Stadium, have passed the 48,000 mark and are still on sale from www.leinsterrugby.ie as well as Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.