Mercer major doubt to face up to Leinster
Zach Mercer is a major doubt to face Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday. The Bath Rugby No8 hurt his left thigh and knee in the first half of the 7-7 draw with Sale Sharks at the Rec. He had a compression bandage on and was using crutches to get around the Farleigh House training ground onmonday. Todd Blackadder said the injury was not thought to be a serious one. “He’s pretty sore,” said the director of rugby. “He’s got a corker just above his knee and given his medial a tweak. He’ll be touch and go for the weekend.” With Paul Grant still absent with a calf problem, Francois Louw is the most likely candidate to wear the No8 shirt against the top Irish province and reigning European champions. He has played there for South Africa and packed down there once Tom Ellis came on for Mercer on Sunday. Jamie Roberts, Dave Attwood and Tom Dunn are all fit and available; having not been selected to play against the Sharks last weekend. Jonathan Joseph continues to work his way back to fitness after a broken foot and ligament damage, but soreness in one of his Achilles’ tendons means he won’t be ready in time to face rampant Leinster, who have put more than 100 points on Ospreys and Dragons without their internationals in recent weeks. “I’m not saying it’s a setback at the moment,” Blackadder said. “These things can be problematic the closer you get to your comeback because of the workload that goes into it.” Aled Brew and Taulupe Faletau are still on track to return from fractured forearms at some point this month, but will not be ready this weekend. Rhys Priestland is expected to return from a knee injury towards the end of the month. Meanwhile, Tom Homer (shoulder), Anthony Watson (Achilles) and Ben Obano (knee) are still on the injured list.