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Henshaw fitness boost for Leinster and Ireland but Sexton a doubt for Toulouse tie

Robbie Henshaw has offered Leo Cullen and Joe Schmidt a welcome slice of New Year cheer with the news that the Leinster centre is due to return to training this week.

But there was a less positive update from Leinster on Jonathan Sexton who is carrying a calf injury and rated 50-50 to make their crucial Heineken Champions Cup clash with Toulouse this weekend.

Sexton picked up his complaint in the loss to Munster late last month and has sat out training since, including Leinster's session on Monday.

Like Sexton, Devin Toner and Jack McGrath have sat out the first training session of the week. Not ideal as the Pool One meeting with the French aristocrats at the RDS approaches.

Henshaw’s case makes up,

somewhat, for all that.

A hamstring injury suffered in the warm-up to Ireland’s meeting with Argentina back in November had appeared to make him a doubt for the opening weekends of the Six Nations, the first game against England included.

Eight weeks was the initial diagnosis.

However, Leinster have now reported that he will return to the team training environment this week “under supervision” and the province’s senior coach Stuart Lancaster has even suggested that he could even be an option this weekend.

Rob Kearney and Jack McGrath have both come through their own returns from injury, against Ulster last weekend, with no reported issues.