A narrowed down 19-man Ireland squad took part in an open training session at a sun-kissed Aviva Stadium this afternoon as preparations begin for the trip to Rome for a clash with Italy on Sunday week.
Ireland defence coach, Andy Farrell, described today’s session, which involved a training game against the U20s who showed “a bit of intent”, as a good hitout.
The reduced Ireland squad for today’s training is mostly due to a large number of players who have been released to their provinces as the Guinness PRO14 returns this weekend.
There is also those who have been on the treatment table in recent weeks and Farrell provided an update on those players this afternoon when he spoke to the media. Robbie Henshaw, who missed the Scotland game with a dead leg, is expected to train fully next week but Farrell was a little more cautious when speaking about Garry Ringrose.
“There are a few that we need to keep assessing,” Farrell said.
“Robbie Henshaw will be fit to train next week. Garry Ringrose, we will just assess how he is progressing over the weekend. We will see where we are at next week with him.”
In terms of Johnny Sexton, who failed a HIA in the win at Murrayfield, Farrell’s update was upbeat.
“He [Sexton] is fine. He trained fully. He will be ready to go. He is fine, he’s had no symptoms at all. He’s had no complaints throughout the week.
“As you saw the session was pretty intense and it was a good hit out for him. There was some contact, not too much, but there was enough in there. He would have been fine for this weekend.”
Farrell also described Iain Henderson’s upcoming start for Ulster on Friday night as “a boost” and he also stated he is in correspondence with Munster about the fitness of Tadhg Beirne who he didn’t go into too much detail with regards his likelihood to return next week.
“They have to get through the protocols in getting back to play. We are obviously in contact with the provinces all the time. He’s [Beirne] progressing well, that’s for sure.”