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Leinster Set to Welcome Back Ireland Players for Dragons

Leinster will welcome back a number of their Ireland internationals for Sunday’s clash with the Dragons but the World Cup contingent will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Jack Conan, Ryan Baird and Joe McCarthy were among those who trained with the province last week and may come in the reckoning for the BKT URC clash in Wales. They did not feature in Leinster’s 36-27 victory over Edinburgh on Saturday.

Ross Byrne, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Hugo Keenan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Garry Ringrose and Rónan Kelleher were pictured at training earlier on Monday.

“Everyone is fit, and available, but probably not for selection this week,” contact skills coach Sean O’Brien told RTÉ Sport

“A couple might [be] but not them all obviously, just need to get them back up to speed.”

Ireland won all four pool matches at the World Cup, including a memorable victory over eventual champions South Africa, but lost out narrowly to New Zealand in the quarter-final.

“The lads were excited to get back in and get back training,” added O’Brien (above).

“You don’t want to give them too much time to think. They hit the ground running, they are enthusiastic, it’s great to see them back around the place with a smile on their face.”

Leo Cullen’s side, last URC champions in 2020/21, have always benchmarked themselves by European success.

Beaten by one score in the last two Champions Cup finals by La Rochelle, O’Brien says that Leinster don’t intend to change their fundamental approach, instead preferring to tighten up the details and go again.

“You just add to it, it’s back to basics again,” said the former Leinster, London Irish and Ireland back row forward.

“If you look at those two games we got beaten in, it’s the bounce of a ball or a catch-pass, or a small bit of communication somewhere, so it’s very minute details that could let you down or could win you a game.

“You just have to go back to basics and make sure that you master them as best you can and learn from your mistakes as well. While they were very tough defeats to take there are learnings to be had.

“We’ve had some great open conversations as coaches and players as well so hopefully we can all move forward and get over the line at some point.”

Asked if they had identified a trait that Ronan O’Gara’s side had that was absent in Leinster, the Carlow native said: “No, not at all. You are up against a quality outfit, La Rochelle, and they have a very good team, and so do we.

“But it’s just again the basic errors that we made at crucial stages in some of those games.

“They are the key areas that you have to get right when you get there again.”

Meanwhile, hooker John McKee (hamstring) and prop Michael Milne (shoulder) will be further assessed later this week.

There were no further updates on Luke McGrath (knee), Cian Healy (shoulder), Ed Byrne (hamstring) and Alex Soroka (foot).

Source : RTE