Belfast Telegraph

Magners League: Munster rocked by O’Connell injury scare

By David Kelly

Munster captain Paul O'Connell is a major doubt for the Challenge Cup quarter-final in Brive on Saturday, although it was confirmed yesterday that he did not break his ankle in the 24-23 win over Leinster on Saturday night.

The second-row had to be helped from the pitch after landing heavily on his left ankle after a line-out and, having already missed a large portion of the season with a groin injury, Munster coach Tony McGahan and Ireland counterpart Declan Kidney will be hoping for positive news.

Munster confirmed that O'Connell will see a specialist in Dublin “early this week” and that initial X-rays thankfully revealed there had been no fracture to the ankle.

Aside from O'Connell, there were no major injury concerns after Saturday's intensely physical encounter and Leinster will be hoping flanker Shane Jennings will be back in the frame after missing the Munster match.

McGahan’s men were motivated by a desperate need to restore pride against Leinster.

“It was all that was good about Irish rugby — there was fierce passion, skill level and a determination to win,” said Ronan O'Gara. “Rugby is massive down

here and the supporters demand that we win. “I don't know if we'd be able to walk the streets tomorrow, especially if you lived in Limerick. We know that and we thrive off that, the supporters were magnificent.

“We needed to put a stop to that run but it's easier said than done, you see the quality that they have. They're one of the best teams in Europe, if not the best team in Europe.”

Leicester geared up their Heineken Cup final eight showdown with Joe Schmidt's men by earning a 17-13 win at Harlequins.

However, the Tigers may be without loose-head Marcus Ayerza for the trip to Lansdowne Road after the Argentinian was sent off with Quins prop Joe Marler after a brawl when the Argentinian appeared to headbutt his opponent.

Brive had a confidence-boosting 26-9 home win over La Rochelle to steel them for their Munster assignment. Northampton head into their Heineken Cup encounter with Ulster on the back of 53-24 hammering of Sale.

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