Ireland kick off their 2017 Six Nations campaign on Saturday with an away tie against Scotland at Murrayfield and ahead of that huge opening fixture, mixed injury news has been released by the Ireland camp.
Head coach Joe Schmidt named a 40-man panel for the opening two games of this years championship, with a few notable names included that are carrying injuries into the final preparations for the trip to the improving Scotland.
With cover across pretty much every position on the field, Schmidt has had the luxury of naming a very strong side, with a wealth of experience as well as numerous faces from the next generation of Ireland stars.
Today, at the squads training camp, team manager Paul Dean, alongside Leinster and Ireland full-back Rob Kearney, briefed the gathered press with the latest on the likes of Johnny Sexton and Sean O’Brien.
Both Leinster men have been working to return to fitness following calf injuries in recent weeks. According to Dean, both are on track for a return at the weekend in Edinburgh.
Munster’s Keith Earls is also on the mend following a knee injury and will be back to full training this week.
For prospective debutante Andrew Conway however, the news is not so positive. Aggravating a groin injury in training in recent days, Dean confirmed today that the exciting Munster man will have to wait at least another week for his first cap as he will not be considered for the trip to the Scottish capital.
Take a look at the full press update from Dean and Kearney.
Video Credit: Irish Rugby TV
Installed as second favourites for the title this year, behind England, Ireland will be hoping to build upon an impressive November test series that saw them defeat New Zealand, Australia and Canada, while also suffering a narrow loss in the second game with the world champions.
Overcoming Scotland in Edinburgh at the weekend is imperative if Ireland are to legitimately contest for a third title in four seasons.
Kick off between Scotland and Ireland on Saturday is at 2:25pm.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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