Leinster's Sexton out of Rainbow Cup opener

Head injury - Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton
Head injury - Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton Geoff Caddick AFP/File
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Dublin (AFP)

Leinster have ruled Johnny Sexton out of their opening Rainbow Cup match against arch-rivals Munster on Saturday, placing a question mark over the Ireland fly-half's availability for next weekend's European Champions Cup semi-final against La Rochelle.

Sexton is still dealing with the effects of a head injury he suffered in the quarter-final win over reigning European champions Exeter and Leinster, in their weekly injury bulletin, said Monday: "Johnny is having further assessment and once complete and all information is to hand, a further update will be given."

Dublin-based Leinster are away to French club La Rochelle on May 2.

Sexton, 35, has had several head injuries during his lengthy career and spent several weeks on the sidelines during 2014 and 2015 following a number of blows sustained while playing for then club Racing 92 and Ireland.

When fit he remains an automatic selection for Ireland, with Sexton having won 99 caps for his country and a further six for the British and Irish Lions since making his Test debut in 2009.

The Rainbow Cup is a new competition featuring clubs from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Italy and South Africa.