Joe Schmidt offered an injury update on some of Ireland’s key players when he spoke to the media this afternoon at an open training session at Queen’s University, Belfast.
The Ireland head coach is confident that Johnny Sexton will be fit for next weekend’s clash against France at the Aviva Stadium.
Joey Carbery is also in contention which dampens reports this week that he will miss the remainder of the championship and could also be a doubt for Munster’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final clash with Edinburgh.
Carbery picked up a hamstring injury in training in the week preceding Ireland’s win over Italy.
“They’re both on track, Johnny is certainly ahead of Joey,” Schmidt said.
“Johnny is going to be fine, he’ll train next week.
“We’re hoping that Joey will be fit to train, potentially on Wednesday.
“If he can train Wednesday and do Friday then that’s sufficient lead-in that he can be in contention, so we’ll just have to wait and see – more so on Joey, but we’d be very confident about Johnny.”
CJ Stander, Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose all took part in today’s session which provides a big boost ahead of the clash with France.
“CJ is fine, he got a poke in the eye but that was fine. He’s running around refreshed, he’s very keen to be in the mix.”
Robbie Henshaw and Dan Leavy both trained separately to the main group this afternoon as Schmidt reveals they are on different programmes to the rest of the squad.
“He [Leavy] and Robbie Henshaw trained this morning, so we’ve got them on a slightly different programme. He, again, is on track to train potentially on Tuesday next week and hopefully, he’ll train Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Robbie is on the same kind of path at the moment.
“It’s how they pull up after training this morning, they worked pretty hard this morning and we’ll get a better idea post that.”
Seán O’Brien was absent from today’s session in Belfast but Schmidt confirmed that it was just a case of managing his workload and that he is expected to return to camp next week in Carton House.
“Just the volume of work we want to do over the three days, we thought it was better that he spread his work across the week.
“He’s been in with us a lot, where we try to have a reasonably tight number at camp with us.
“With Seán, he was back with Leinster doing a conditioning week and he’ll be back with us on Tuesday.”