JAMES RYAN has no qualms about travelling abroad again — despite fears Ireland was about to return to lockdown.

But Johnny Sexton will not be travelling to Italy as the out-half is nursing a hamstring strain which has been described as minor.

James Ryan of Leinster


James Ryan of LeinsterCredit: Sportsfile

Leinster face Benetton Treviso on Saturday, Ryan’s first overseas trip with Leo Cullen’s side since the teams met each other in the Champions Cup in January.

With the Government deciding against following a recommendation to impose Level 5 restrictions, elite sport can for now continue, although matches remain behind closed doors.

And the Ireland lock has no fears about foreign travel.

Ryan said: “There are no reservations for me, no. I’m happy enough, it’s exciting to be going away and playing again. So it’s all good from my end anyway.


“Obviously I saw NPHET recommended Level 5 on Sunday but, for us, it’s a great opportunity to practise what’s in our own hands.

“With all these distractions it’s really important for us to focus on our prep in the days and the weeks ahead, which can be hard at times but I think it’s vital we do that.

“It’s probably not too healthy to be checking the news every night, is it? I got myself in the habit in the first few months, probably like most people, checking the cases, how many cases are there, how many deaths.

“I think just having a bit of time to step away from it is important, while obviously playing your own part, would be kind of my take on it.


“We just have to be extra careful. We’re tested every week, which is important.

“Outside of that, we’ve just got to be responsible in terms of keeping our own personal bubbles and our contacts small as it’s obviously pretty widespread. Making the right choices is important for us.”

Backs coach Felipe Contepomi insisted that the uncertainty had not been much of a disruption to the team’s preparation yesterday.

Contepomi said: “I focused on what we can do, I think always speak about controlling the controllable, and something we learned from this period is that there are things we can control and we can’t waste energy on those other things.


“For us, and more than ever, we have a game on Saturday and the only things we have been talking about is how we’re going to beat Treviso down in Treviso, knowing that it’s a very difficult place to go and play.

“That’s all of our focus. Then the news that comes next, we’ll have to adapt and see what is next.

“But it’s a big if, and we don’t want to stay thinking too much on those ifs.”

Sexton has been ruled out of the province’s second fixture of the new PRO14 season with the hamstring strain which forced him off against Dragons on Friday.


With just 3½ weeks to go before Ireland are due to play their postponed Six Nations fixture against Italy, and France up seven days later, it is obviously of concern.

But Contepomi was upbeat when asked if the No 10 would be available to Andy Farrell later this month.

He added: “You know, it’s hard because I don’t want to give a timetable and then people say, ‘Well, Felipe says this’, but I think for the injury he has, he should be OK.

“He was taken off more as a precaution than really a serious injury that you could tell he could be out for one, two, three or four weeks. I think he’ll be fine, yeah, definitely.” 

A bigger worry for Leinster is the knee injury sustained by Max Deegan at the RDS.

Contepomi added: “That’s not a minor injury, definitely, but we haven’t got the final diagnosis because sometimes the clinical assessment and the scans, they don’t talk the same language, so you have to get an expert or consult with someone to make the final diagnosis and that’s the point where we are at.”

Ciarán Frawley (face), Dan Leavy (knee), Tadhg Furlong (calf), Dan Sheehan (cheekbone), Vakh Abdaladze (back), Conor O’Brien (hamstring) and Adam Byrne (hamstring) remain out.

A call will be made on Andrew Porter and Dave Kearney (both hamstring) later in the week.

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