Stuart Lancaster and Leinster focus on positives after Tadhg Furlong set-back
"In good news... "
Leinster were focusing on the positives, today, as Robbie Henshaw was passed fit to play Dragons in the first game of the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season. As for Tadhg Furlong and Dan Leavy, though, the story has not changed much.
Neither of Leinster's international forwards have started since rugby restarted in Ireland and Furlong has now been hit by a further set-back. Leavy had been hoping to get out on the pitch, for Leinster A, last Friday but his long-awaited comeback has been delayed again. Earlier today, a Leinster release read:
'Tadhg Furlong will miss out on selection this week. Tadhg had successfully returned from his back injury but picked up a minor calf injury during preparations for the Saracens game and will be unavailable for a number of weeks as a result.
'In other news Dan Leavy will not be involved this weekend as his training load is being managed this week following his return from a knee injury.'
No 'new injury updates' were provided on Dan Sheehan (cheekbone), Vakh Abdaladze (back), Dave Kearney (hamstring), Conor O’Brien (hamstring) and Adam Byrne (hamstring), meaning they will all be out a while longer.
Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster has provided a more in-depth update on the Furlong situation at a press briefing this afternoon. He comments:
"It's obviously disappointing for Tadhg, personally. From a team point of view, you've got other options. He's missed some big games now and we want to get him up and running so he gets game-time before the international programme starts.
"It is disappointing but I don't think it's major. I don't think anyone is sat here thinking that he's not going to be right for the end of October. But, clearly, he wants to play himself and get some game-time, and wants to get up and running. Disappointing, but it's not like it's a long-term injury."
Lancaster says his players are raring to get back into the new season, after the disappointment of their Champions Cup exit to Saracens, and Leinster need to strike the right balance with their team selection next week.
On the balance note, Lancaster did confirm that Australia international Scott Fardy was not injured ahead of that Saracens game and was left out of the squad in preference for Devin Toner [starting] and Ryan Baird [on the bench].
"It was a tactical call, I guess," he says. "Ryan Baird did a great job from the bench. Obviously Dev was in for what Dev delivers and James Ryan was selected on the basis on what he can deliver as well.
"Scott Fardy has been great for us and he'll be great for us in the season to come; he's been outstanding, really. So it was one of those tight calls but it went Ryan's - with Dev and J.R starting on the day. Scott is a competitive man, though, and he always wants to play."