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Andy Farrell may have Johnny Sexton available for his first game as the new Ireland head coach.

The 34-year-old is said to be recovering well from the medial ligament tear in his right knee that he picked up in Leinster’s Heineken Champions Cup win in Northampton last month.

The number 10 visited a specialist in London twice over the Christmas period.

Sexton has been tipped to be the next Irish captain after fulfilling the role for the first time at the World Cup in Japan last year.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen, while naming his team to face Connacht in the PRO14 on Saturday, gave an update on the fly-half's fitness.

“He’s progressing well, all seems to be on track for him.”

Joe Tomane returns from injury to take his place in the centre tomorrow evening and that's one of 14 changes to his side that oversaw Munster last weekend.

Speaking today, Cullen seemed optimistic of the Australian born 29-year-old's abilities and his squad as a whole.

“It’s a tricky period and Joe is one of those coming back in from injury so we’re all looking forward to getting going with the last inter-provincial of the festive period”

“It’s been a full-on block of games and a case of survival of the fittest.

"Thankfully we still have a lot of fit guys. We got through Thomond Park with a clean bill of health but we need to bring in players who need games.”

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