Leinster gets international boost for 'hostile' Loftus


INJURY UPDATE: Leinster received a timely boost ahead of their United Rugby Championship semifinal encounter with the Bulls.

Two of their most seasoned players - midfielder Garry Ringrose and loose forward Jack Conan- have been cleared from injury and are available to tackle the Bulls.

That gives them the experience of an additional 270 provincial matches and almost 100 Test caps.

Ringrose returned to full training last week after his return from a shoulder injury, while Conan returned to full training this week after missing the quarterfinal win over Ulster as a precaution.

Assistant coach Robin McBryde said Ringrose, one of the team's co-captains, has been like a wound-up spring coil.

"He has put some tremendous work in to get back to where he is," the forwards coach said.

Conan has made a big impact off the bench and was always 'very effective' in his role within the team.

"He is very dynamic off the base of the scrum," McBryde said of the No.8, adding: "He is developing his line-out game as well."

McBryde said the experience of the duo is "invaluable" to the visitors - given the venue and the quality of the opposition.

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"You need as many fit players as you can - not just for the game, but also in training to prepare the team as best as possible," he told @rugby365com.

"We are under no illusion we are stepping into a very hostile environment.

"They are a proud team with a proud record in knock-out games.

"To have players of the calibre of Ringrose and Conan coming back is invaluable.

"It gives us a bit more strength in depth."

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Ringrose made his Leinster debut on the left wing in 2015 in a Pro12 match against Cardiff, followed up by a start on the right wing against Scarlets a few weeks later.

It wasn't until November that year (again against Scarlets) that he made his first start in the No.13 jersey, that he has made his own since then in Leinster blue or in Ireland green.

Ringrose made his Ireland debut in November 2015 against Canada and since then has become a leadership figure for Leinster and for Ireland and captained Leinster on numerous occasions including the 2021 Pro 14 Final win against Munster.

Conan made his senior debut in February 2014 against the Cardiff Blues.

In January 2017, Conan scored a hat-trick in the 57-3 win against Montpellier in the European Cup at the RDS.

Conan gained his 100th Leinster cap in a Pro 14 victory over Dragons on 19 February 2021.

He scored the game's only try and was named Player of the Match in Leinster's 16-6 victory over Munster in the 2021 Pro14 Grand Final.

Conan made his Ireland against Scotland in August 2015 and in 2021 was named on the British & Irish Lions squad for the tour to South Africa, starting in all three Tests.