Johnny Sexton: Fly-half could return for Leinster's New Year's Eve Ulster game

Johnny Sexton took a limited part in Leinster training on Tuesday
Johnny Sexton has not played since being injured in Ireland's defeat by New Zealand on 19 November

Johnny Sexton could make a return to Leinster duty in Saturday's Pro12 Irish derby against Ulster at the RDS.

Fly-half Sexton, 31, has been out since sustaining a hamstring injury in Ireland's defeat by New Zealand six weeks ago.

Sexton took a limited part in training on Tuesday and a Leinster statement said he would be "reintroduced back into the rugby programme this week".

Rob Kearney could also return after returning to training on Tuesday.

Ireland full-back Kearney has been out of action since sustaining an ankle injury in Leinster's European away win over Northampton on 9 December.

Replacement lock Ian Nagle required a head injury assessment after coming on in Leinster's defeat by Munster on Monday and will be assessed further over the coming days.

With Ospreys beating Scarlets on Tuesday, Leinster have dropped to third place in the table while Ulster are in fourth spot.

Meanwhile, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane and Danie Poolman have been added to Connacht's injury worries heading into their home game against leaders Munster on New Year's Eve.

Ireland prop Bealham and utility back Poolman are both undergoing head injury assessments following Friday's 23-7 defeat by Ulster.

International lock Ultan Dillane is also a doubt after suffering an ankle knock late in the Belfast game.

Connacht's already lengthy injury list has them minus 21 players including Jake Heenan, John Cooney, Marnitz Boshoff, Craig Ronaldson, Peter Robb and Stacey Ili.