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Leinster Face Anxious Wait On Injured Four
Fitness of key players could be crucial in Heineken Cup Final
Posted May 20, 2011 by Chris White
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The 18-3 victory against Ulster last weekend in the Magners League semi final appears to have come at a cost for Leinster, as just like buses, they pick up one injury, and three more come along at once. Coach Joe Schmidt is now facing an anxious wait over four key players before the Heineken Cup final clash with Northampton at the Millennium Stadium this weekend.
Brian O’Driscoll was substituted at half-time at the weekend with a knee injury and is facing a race against time to be fit to take his place at Cardiff. Richardt Strauss, Isaac Boss and Mike Ross are suffering with hip, hamstring and leg injuries respectively. Sean O’Brien received three stitches after receiving a cut above his eye but is expected to be fit for the final.
The injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time for Leinster, who are standing on the edge of making history in Irish rugby. Should they beat Northampton in the Heineken Cup Final, and Munster a week later in the Magners League Grand Final, they would become the first Irish team to win a league and European cup double.
Schmidt is confident that all four will be fit for the showpiece finale at the Millennium Stadium, however, claiming that the substitutions of Strauss, Boss and Ross were all precautionary measures. O’Driscoll is slightly more of a concern due to the swelling, as Schmidt says “his knee was pretty functional in the changing room afterwards, but it's obviously swelling, so we're going to have to wait and see how that responds to treatment.”
Northampton Saints could also have recorded a league and cup double, but suffered an 11-3 defeat at Leicester Tigers in the Premiership semi-final.
Saints have injury problems of their own, however, with flanker Tom Wood already ruled out, and Chris Ashton awaiting knee surgery, which has been delayed until after the final.