Ireland issue update on Johnny Sexton and Mack Hansen

Johnny Sexton

Johnny Sexton remains in contention to play the All Blacks this weekend while Mack Hansen has returned to full training.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton was replaced 30 minutes into the first test at Eden Park after he suffered a blow to the head and did not return to the field of play having failed his HIA.

However, Sexton passed his second HIA after the game and should he pass a third test he will be available to play on Saturday as his first failed test will be recognised as an incorrect assessment.

The IRFU have confirmed that he will finish the HIA process today, although if he fails, he must continue a stand down period of 12 days in line with World Rugby’s new concussion protocols.

Four players are expected to return to training this week.

Mack Hansen returned to training today, having finished his isolation period after testing positive for Covid-19 last Monday.

The Connacht winger’s absence left Ireland head coach Andy Farrell short of players on the wing, as Keith Earls started in both games against the Māori and New Zealand, although Hansen will be available this weekend.

There is also good news for Rob Herring and Harry Byrne, both of whom picked up injuries in training while on tour, who are expected to return to full training this week.

Finlay Bealham will also return to training later this week, after testing positive for Covid-19 and having to pull out of Saturday’s game at Eden Park on late notice.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Loughman and Dave Heffernan are confirmed to have suffered concussions and are undergoing the 12-day return to play protocols.

Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey arrives in New Zealand today as a replacement for his provincial team mate James Hume, who suffered a groin injury during the game against the Māori.

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