Leinster injury update places James Lowe and Hugo Keenan on sideline for 'number of weeks'
A real mixed bag from Leinster, here.
Leinster get their 2022/23 United Rugby Championship campaign underway against Zebre, this weekend, without a batch of senior stars, including James Lowe and Hugo Keenan.
The Ireland internationals are among a list of eight players definitely out of the selection mix, along with a handful of other Test stars that may be eased in over the coming weeks.
First up, the good news. A Leinster update has confirmed that Rónan Kelleher, Dave Kearney, Will Connors and Ross Byrne have all made full returns to training after respective shoulder, hamstring, knee and foot injuries.
Late last month, we caught up with Leinster and Ireland flanker Will Connors, who said he was rarely to go after a frustrating 2021/22 season that saw him feature in only a couple of senior games. Asked if he was looking to challenge Josh van der Flier for a back-row spot, the Kildare native said he would love a few games together with the European Player of the Year.
"Initially, I want to set my mark here," said Connors. "That is my main goal - to put my foot down here, get a few games under my belt and get the confidence going.
"It'd be nice, too, if myself and Josh could even get a couple of games together. But that's my plan - make my mark with Leinster and go from there."
Updates on James Lowe and Hugo Keenan
Leinster confirmed, in their Monday squad update, that lock Joe McCarthy and winger Jordan Larmour had respective ankle and knee procedures over the summer. Both are due to increase their training loads ahead of rejoining the squad fully, next week.
The news was not so positive on four other senior players, including James Lowe and Hugo Keenan. The Leinster update reads:
- Hugo Keenan: is rehabbing a knee and abdominal issue and will be unavailable for a number of weeks
- James Lowe: picked up a calf injury in training and will be unavailable for a number of weeks
- James Tracy: underwent neck surgery over the summer and will be unavailable for four months
- Liam Turner: sustained a foot injury in training and will be unavailable for four weeks
The province will be hopeful that Keenan and Lowe will be back close to the first Champions Cup fixtures, as will Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, who will have both in mind for November Test outings.
Leinster currently have Tommy O’Brien and Charlie Ryan out with longer term knee injuries.
Elsewhere, Munster's URC opener against Cardiff has been rescheduled and will now kick off at 3:05pm on Saturday. Originally due to take place on Friday night, 'significant logistical challenges have occurred' due to the visit of King Charles III to Cardiff, earlier that day.