Leinster Rugby have announced that captain Johnny Sexton is likely to miss the remainder of the season in a huge blow to their bid for a record-equalling fifth Heineken Champions Cup title.
Leinster, who play interprovincial rivals Ulster Rugby in the Round of 16 on Saturday, will be without their influential fly-half after he sustained a groin injury playing for Ireland in the Six Nations.
Veteran Sexton, who helped Leinster to all four of their EPCR crowns, is set to see a specialist tomorrow.
The 37-year-old announced last year that he would retire after this summer’s World Cup, meaning he has potentially played his last game in EPCR competitions.
The Heineken Champions Cup final takes place in Dublin on May 20.
🥊 TIME FOR THE KNOCKOUTS 🥊
Which team has the best run to the #HeinekenChampionsCup Final? pic.twitter.com/HWLOKcaRa8
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 27, 2023
Injury problems saw Sexton feature just once in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup pool stage, coming off the bench in Leinster’s Round 2 victory over Gloucester Rugby.
He slotted a late conversion in that game at the RDS Arena, leaving his all-time points haul at 784 – the fourth-highest in the history of EPCR’s elite competition.
Leinster have offered further injury updates ahead of their Round of 16 clash in Dublin this weekend, with prop Ed Byrne now fully recovered from a knee injury.
Back-row forward Caelan Doris, centre Garry Ringrose and back Hugo Keenan are following the Graduated Return to Play Protocols this week.