Boost for Leinster and Ireland as Van der Flier is well ahead of schedule with shoulder recovery
LEINSTER AND IRELAND have received a significant boost with news that the shoulder injury Josh van der Flier suffered against Edinburgh 10 days ago is not as serious as first feared.
It was initially thought the openside flanker would miss eight weeks with the problem, including the rest of this year’s Six Nations, but Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey says the 23-year-old should return sooner than that.
“He’s just got an AC shoulder issue and hopefully he won’t be out for that long,” Dempsey said in UCD today.
“It’s progressed well this week so we’ll monitor him throughout the week and see how he goes. He’s gone really well, so it won’t be too long.”
Dempsey also said that Van der Flier could yet get himself back in the Ireland frame for their final Six Nations match of the campaign against England, at the Aviva Stadium, on 18 March.
“Potentially, yeah, it depends how he comes through the rehab and stuff like that. I spoke to him this morning and he’s really happy with how he’s gone, his shoulder feels good. I’d say he’s potentially targeting that [game v England] as well.”
It also means that, barring any setbacks, Van der Flier will be available for Leinster’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps on 1 April.
Head coach Leo Cullen should also be able to call on captain Isa Nacewa for that encounter as the versatile back is progressing well from a minor knee procedure and is expected to return to training in the next week.
In other injury news, Rhys Ruddock, Fergus McFadden and Noel Reid came through last weekend’s impressive 55-24 win against the Dragons unscathed after making their respective returns.
Back rower Peadar Timmins, who made his first start for the province last Friday night, has entered return-to-play protocols after leaving the Dragons game for a head injury assessment.
Rory O’Loughlin will be further assessed this week on the AC joint issue he also picked up against Edinburgh and could feature in Saturday night’s RDS clash against the in-form Scarlets, who have won five games on the bounce, including Friday night’s impressive victory against Munster at Thomond Park.
Leinster will be without the aforementioned Van der Flier and Nacewa for the clash as well as their fellow injury-stricken team-mates Dominic Ryan (knee), Dave Kearney (toe), Sean Cronin (hamstring) and Jordi Murphy (ACL).
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