Leinster have issued a lengthy injury update on the back of Saturday’s surprise Guinness Pro14 defeat to Connacht. The province’s 26-game unbeaten run in the Pro14 came to an end at the weekend and Leo Cullen’s squad are now left with a number of players facing fitness battles ahead of Friday’s showdown with Conference A leaders Ulster.

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Captain Johnny Sexton, who was withdrawn midway through the first half with a head injury, is currently following the Graduated Return to Play Protocols, as is Scott Penny, who was forced following a heavy collision in the second-half.

Sexton’s absence could leave the province suddenly looking short at out-half, with Ciarán Frawley – who has primarily been used at centre this season – dropping out of last week’s starting team due to injury.

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Frawley is rehabbing a hamstring injury in the hope of being fit to face Ulster on Friday. Harry Byrne, who pulled out of last month’s Champions Cup win over Northampton following a back spasm in the warm-up, is due to return to training this week but will require further assessment before a final call is made on his availability.

Josh Murphy is also a doubt having suffered a minor calf injury, as are Jimmy O’Brien, who filled in at out-half following Sexton’s departure, and Rory O’Loughlin, as they both have shoulder injuries which will require further assessment.

The good news for Leinster is that Ed Byrne and Jack Conan are both expected to be available having come through their first games back from injury without any complications, while Rhys Ruddock, who was in blistering form in the first of half of the season, is also expected to be fit to play having recovered from a rib injury.

Jordan Larmour has returned to training following a lengthy lay-off with a shoulder problem and could feature this weekend.

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There was no new updates available on any of Garry Ringrose (jaw), Conor O’Brien (knee), Tommy O’Brien (ankle), James Lowe (groin), Tadhg Furlong (calf), Max Deegan (knee), Vakh Abdaladze (back) or Adam Byrne (hamstring), who all remain sidelined.

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