Sexton ruled out of Toulouse showdown
April 30, 2010
Leinster boss Michael Cheika has opted for Shaun Berne at fly-half after Jonathan Sexton failed to prove his fitness © Getty Images
Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton has been ruled out of Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Toulouse.
The 24-year-old has failed to recover sufficiently from a fractured draw suffered during his side's 29-28 quarter-final victory over Clermont Auvergne earlier this month with Shaun Berne handed the No.10 jersey by coach Michael Cheika.
"He (Sexton) is desperate to play and we gave him every opportunity but we felt it was too big a risk and we also have the player's welfare and safety in mind," Cheika told the Irish Times. "But we also have 100 per cent confidence that Shaun Berne can do the job."
Centre Fergus McFadden (calf) remains very doubtful but Girvan Dempsey has recovered from the neck injury he picked up against Connacht. Isa Nacewa will most likely act as back-up fly-half and kicker. Cheika will announce his side for the Stade Municipal clash on Friday afternoon.
Leinster are expected to see their Heineken Cup defence ended by tournament favourites Toulouse, who are gunning for a fourth title. Leinster stunned the French giants 41-35 four years ago in one of the competition's great encounters but captain Leo Cullen admits few people are backing them to revisit that spectacular upset.
"I think there is a feeling... I certainly sense that people aren't giving us much of a chance. That's a new sensation for some of us," he said. "The way you get asked questions you can sense the way people feel about things. I suppose that makes you a bit more determined about things. As a team I think we are well capable of travelling. It is always a nice feeling when you get written off and we certainly feel we have a point to prove still."