ZANE KIRCHNER IS set to make his Leinster debut against Connacht on Saturday but Brian O’Driscoll’s injury layoff looks set to drag into November.
Speaking at the Mansion House this afternoon, Leinster skills coach Richie Murphy revealed Kirchner is ready to bring his training ground skills to bear at the RDS. Mike Ross, who injured his hamstring against Ospreys on 12 October, may also feature. O’Driscoll has not played for Leinster since picking up a calf injury in September.
“Mike is progressing really well but it will come down to the wire,” said Murphy. “We won’t make a call until tomorrow. He’s hitting his markers and doing well with his recovery. Brian is in a similar kind of boat but a little bit behind so a last-minute call will be made on that.
We’re optimistic on Mike to play, it’s looking pretty good, but, on Brian, it is a case of wait and see.”
Murphy added that Lote Tuqiri is ‘on his way back’ but won’t make the interprovincial clash. He should be back for next weekend. There was better news on the injury front with regard to inside centre Andrew Goodman. The New Zealander is fit and available for selection and should feature in the Blues squad for Saturday’s clash at the RDS.
Murphy commented, “Zane has fit in really well. Obviously, it will take him a bit of time to learn how we do things over here but you could see his talent in training this week. He’s starting to stand out in the group and is starting to settle in.”
One player that stood out in recent weeks is Connacht’s veteran outhalf Dan Parks. Murphy praised Parks for marshalling the province to Heineken Cup success against Zebre last weekend and believes cramping the Scotland international for space is the key to limiting Connacht’s attacking ambitions.
Mike McCarthy came off after 55 minutes in Leinster’s 19 — 7 win over Castres last week but Murphy did not mention his name as an injury concern.
McCarthy and Tuqiri are slated in for a post-match Q&A in Leinster’s Laighin Out supporters bar on Saturday. The former Connacht lock will be hoping to have put in a playing shift before facing the inquisitive music.