Gatland allays O’Brien and McGrath fitness doubts

british lions new zealand warren gatland sean o'brien jack mcgrath
22 May 2017; Sean O’Brien in conversation with Jonathan Sexton, both of British and Irish Lions during squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Co Kildare. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

By Damian Dolan

Ireland duo Sean O’Brien and Jack McGrath will be fit for next month’s Lions tour of New Zealand, insists head coach Warrren Gatland.

O’Brien missed Leinster’s Pro 12 semi-final defeat to the Scarlets last Friday, pulling out late on with a hamstring injury, while McGrath needed an X-ray to an arm injury picked up in the 27-15 loss at the RDS.

However, Gatland, who this week lost England and Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola with a shoulder injury, has moved to allay fears that the Ireland pair may also not be on the plane to New Zealand.

“Sean is probably more concerned than we were. He’s frustrated because he might have overloaded himself last week in preparing for the game because he hadn’t been playing,” he said.

“We’re just making sure we’re managing him. But having chatted to him he’s pretty confident he’s going to be 100 per cent. We had a scan on his calf and he’s okay.

“Jack is fine, he had an X-ray and he’s fine.”

Pro 12 final

Meanwhile, Munster have no injury worries going into Saturdays’ Pro 12 final against Leinster’s conquerors, the Scarlets.

Munster proved far too good for their semi-final opponents, the Ospreys, and while there were initially injury concerns over James Cronin, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway, Munster’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus confirmed that all three are set to train this week in preparation for the final.

Cronin was a late withdrawal prior the Ospreys game, while Earls and Conway picked up respective knocks to the shin and shoulder.

While Conway played the full 80 minutes against the Ospreys, Earls was forced off with ten minutes remaining and was replaced by Ian Keatley with 10 minutes.

Dressing room

Munster, meanwhile, will be in the home dressing room for Saturday’s final at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. It will be the first time Munster have occupied the home changing room. They will also wear their alternate navy kit for the game.

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