Tadhg Furlong is "heading in the right direction" when it comes to his recovery according to Leinster scrum coach Robin McBryde.

Ireland tighthead prop Furlong has been absent with injury for province and country since pro rugby resumed in the summer and suffered a setback with his calf problem in November.

But McBryde, who has been working closely with the player in recent weeks, is confident that Furlong is on the right track. 

"I've been doing some one-on-one coaching with him, a bit of profile work etc just on his road back to recovery," he said.

"[Furlong and James Lowe (groin)] are both heading in the right direction and are being closely monitored, so hopefully it won't be too long."  

However, McBryde confirmed that Furlong has not resumed full contact work, adding that he is just "focusing in on his profile, strengthening some of the areas".

"It's a good opportunity when you come in and work on rehab to touch base with individuals and just work on the small little details which can be overlooked when you're constantly in a working week," he said.

The update on Furlong's condition comes after Ulster revealed their second-row Iain Henderson will be out until the end of January with a knee injury sustained in Ireland's Nations Cup win over Scotland.

He is expected to miss the Christmas interpros and the province's  three remaining Heineken Champions Cup pool games. 

Leinster scrum coach Robin McBryde

Furlong will not be involved when Leinster aim to build on last weekend's win at Montpellier against Northampton this weekend.

While the make-up of the Leinster team will not be known until later this week, McBryde praised the non-international contingent who had made their presence felt during the early stages of the Guinness Pro14 campaign.

"Michael Bent has been outstanding. He's made my role as a coach much easier because he's driving the scrum," he said.

"He really is a force to be reckoned with on the training field and because he prides himself so much on the scrum, that rubs off on the young tightheads behind him, on the young locks and the flankers.

"If you're in opposition to him, you bear the brunt of his technical ability and when you push in behind him and he's on your team, then similarly it rubs off on these young individuals."

It is just over a year since McBryde linked up with Leinster after the last Rugby World Cup ended and the former Wales player and assistant coach feels his high expectations of the province's environment and culture have been exceeded.

"I visited over a couple of times. I had a conversation with Tadhg and with Cian [Healy] and then during the World Cup I was looking at footage of training in regards to some of the youngsters coming through," he said.

"My expectations were high because I knew the reputation and the identity and everything that went along with Leinster, so to see that up close and to be working with those individuals, I haven't been disappointed to be honest. They're a great bunch to work with."  

Follow Leinster v Northampton (Saturday 1pm) and Connacht v Bristol (Sunday 5.30pm) with our live blogs on www.rte.ie/sport or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra and RTÉ Radio 1.