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Leinster statement: Johnny Sexton injury update

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have issued a worrying update about Johnny Sexton, the veteran Ireland skipper who failed to finish last Sunday night’s URC win over Connacht at the RDS. The 37-year-old was starting his first match since leading his country to their November 5 win over South Africa in Dublin, but his return to a No10 shirt didn’t pass off safely as he exited injured in the 64th minute.

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Sexton was recently sidelined after pulling out of the November 19 Ireland match versus Australia 20 minutes before the kick-off with a calf injury. That injury was put behind him when he played 20 minutes off the Leinster bench in their December 16 Heineken Champions Cup win over Gloucester, but his first match start on New Year’s Day in the eight weeks since the Test victory over the Springboks was cut short following a facial collision when tackling Connacht’s Jared Butler.

Less than 48 hours later, Leinster have now provided an update on the Sexton injury, explaining that he was to undergo a procedure on Tuesday and only after that will it be clarified how long he will be sidelined for on this occasion.

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This lack of clarity will raise fears that Ireland skipper Sexton could be unavailable for his country’s opening Guinness Six Nations match against Wales in Cardiff on February 4. Sexton’s No10 Ireland jersey was worn by rookie Jack Crowley against the Wallabies, with Ross Byrne coming off the bench to strike the late penalty kick winner.

A statement read: “Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has issued an injury update ahead of Saturday’s away game against the Ospreys in the URC. Tadhg Furlong and Will Connors will again look to step up their rehabilitation programmes from respective ankle and bicep injuries.

“Unavailable for selection: Johnny Sexton suffered a cheekbone injury during the game against Connacht and will have a procedure today [Tuesday] and will be further assessed then. Luke McGrath will be unavailable for selection for the Ospreys game after picking up an ankle injury. Max Deegan will also be unavailable for selection for the Ospreys game after picking up an ankle injury.

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“There are no further updates on Thomas Clarkson (arm), Ed Byrne (knee), Jason Jenkins (hamstring), Robbie Henshaw (wrist), Martin Moloney (knee), Ciarán Frawley (knee), Charlie Ryan (knee) and Tommy O’Brien (knee).”

2023 is expected to the Sexton’s swansong at the highest level in the sport, with the Ireland veteran tipped to retire from Test rugby after the World Cup in France.

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