Following a good weekend for Connacht Rugby there was another boost today with the confirmation that Tom McCartney has signed a new three-year contract extension with the Western Provence and the IRFU.
The versatile player that can operate at hooker or loosehead prop, has agreed a deal that will see him play at the Sportsground until at least the summer of 2020.
McCartney, who will qualify to play for Ireland in October 2017, recently celebrated his 50th Connacht appearance with a Man of the Match performance and two tries against Benetton Treviso in the Guinness PRO12.
“I’m delighted to sign on for another three years with Connacht Rugby,” McCartney said. “I came here excited to be able to help the province achieve its vision of success and I believe we have the structures in place to see us continue to go from strength to strength.”
The news from Leinster today was less positive however with the confirmation that Dave Kearney has suffered a further setback in his recovery from an ankle injury after being forced to undergo surgery in a bid to find a solution to the problem.
The Leinster winger could now be looking at a further six weeks on the sidelines after going under the knife on advice from a specialist.
Kearney sustained the injury in the Guinness Pro12 victory over Cardiff Blues on 1 October and the issue proved more serious than originally expected with a rehab programme failing to heal the ankle.
Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed the news this afternoon:
“Basically they tried to rehab it and he was making slow progress and when he came back to his on-field running it still wasn’t right. He had some body fragments taken out which is then going to relieve the last problem and he’ll be back six weeks from now.”
In more positive news the developments on the Johnny Sexton situation makes for better reading. The Leinster and Ireland out-half’s fitness appears to be somewhat clearer ahead of a busy festive period.
Sexton will continue to work closely with specialists at the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry but Lancaster expects him to return to on-field training later in the week. The province are confident he could return for the interpro clash with Ulster on 31 December.
Sexton will continue his recovery this week.
Apart from Kearney and Sexton it’s plain sailing with a clean bill of health being issued following their emphatic Champions Cup victory over Northampton at the weekend.
Cian Healy was taken off after 77 minutes at the Aviva Stadium with a suspected head injury but the province say no HIA was required and he’s available for selection this week.
Rob Kearney (ankle), Joey Carbery (ankle), Fergus McFadden (calf), Mike Ross (hamstring), Jordi Murphy (ACL) and Cathal Marsh (hand) all remain long-term absentees.
The next game for Leinster will be a meeting with Munster in the PRO 12.