IRELAND REMAIN OPTIMISTIC that Jonny Sexton will be available for this weekend’s Six Nations clash with Italy.
The Racing Métro out-half injured his thumb in the defeat to England two weekends ago, before differing injury updates from his Top 14 club and the international set-up had confused the matter of his availability to take on the Italians.
A further “specialist review” will be received by Ireland this evening, after which there will be a clearer picture for Saturday’s game, although Joe Schmidt is hopeful that Sexton will be available for the training session at Carton House tomorrow.
Team manager Mick Kearney also underlined that Luke Marshall was “well” following his concussion while playing for Ulster in the RaboDirect Pro12 last weekend. The centre will complete his graduated return to play protocols with his province.
Outside centre Brian O’Driscoll is “in good shape” having recovered from the ill effects of calf cramping against England in round three, meaning the 35-year-old will take a full part in training this week.
Peter O’Mahony has “recovered well” from his hamstring strain and will perform running drills today in order to further test the injury. Provided the Munster captain comes through that examination, he will train fully tomorrow.
Tommy Bowe impressed on his return for Ulster, with no repercussions on the injury front, but the wing will remain with his province to continue building up to full fitness. Luke Fitzgerald suffered “a minor setback” ahead of Leinster’s clash last weekend, and it was felt not prudent to risk further damage.
Meanwhile, Felix Jones jarred his knee playing for Munster and needs rest for 10 days following a specialist review, which confirmed no longer-term concerns. Tommy O’Donnell will remain with Munster to return to fitness following his shoulder ‘stinger’.
Elsewhere, Andrew Trimble has recovered fully from the knock on the knee he sustained at training camp in Belfast last week and is available for selection. Martin Moore picked up several bumps and bruises while playing for Leinster against the Glasgow Warriors, but is fully fit to train this week.