The Tullow Tank has returned to training but faces a race to be fit for their Champions Cup semi-final against Scarlets.

Sean O'Brien looks set to miss Leinster's Guinness PRO14 match against Zebre at the RDS this Saturday.

The back-row is back in training after a shoulder injury but it looks like this weekend's game will come around too quickly for the Tullow Tank.

The province will also continue to monitor Luke McGrath's ankle injury, and Rhys Ruddock's hamstring issue as the week progresses.

Leinster's scrum-coach John Fogarty says O'Brien is still a bit away from full fitness

"He did everything he could last week and was quite close but the feeling is he's a few more markers to kinda get to. Whether he gets there this week or not, I wouldn't be so sure.

"We gotta see how he fronts up out on the pitch, if he makes (those markers) he'll make the weekend but at this moment in time he has a markers to get to. 

"It's important that he comes back and is nice and fresh. We don't want him back and worrying about his injury and then not performing to the ability that he can. It's exciting that he's very close to coming back, I'm not quite sure he'll make it this week but he's doing all he can at this stage."


Leinster's Dan Leavy runs in a try despite the efforts from Owen Farrell of Saracens
©INPHO/Tommy Dickson


In O'Brien's absence, Dan Leavy's impressed at open-side for both Ireland and Leinster and Fogarty says O'Brien knows it'll be difficult to get his place back in the Blues' side during the run in.

"They thrive on competition, we try our best and have tried our best all season to develop and encourage that competition off the field and on the field in training sessions. They all thrive on that, that's what they need and they're reacting quite well to it.

"Seanie without a doubt adds to the mix and will to want to come back get in the team and win but he'll have a fight on his hands because there's a great group of players there."