JONNY SEXTON TOOK part in Ireland’s squad session today at Carton House and looks like being available for selection ahead of Saturday’s clash with Italy, despite the recent diagnosis from Racing Métro that the out-half would miss that game.
However, blindside flanker Peter O’Mahony’s recovery from a hamstring strain is not progressing as rapidly and the Munster captain remains a doubt for the round four Six Nations tie.
Ireland forwards coach John Plumtree confirmed that Sexton had come through training earlier, albeit without having been involved in the every exercise as he rotated with Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan in the out-half position.
Jonny trained today and he did really well. He was sort of in and out with Paddy and Mads, so we’ll make the final call on Thursday but he didn’t look in too much discomfort at all. I think he’ll be pretty good for the weekend, as long as Joe [Schmidt] makes that call on Thursday.”
The 28-year-old playmaker underwent examinations with a specialist consultant on his thumb injury yesterday evening, from which the results were positive.
“Yeah, it looks like the scan is clear,” said Plumtree. “Again, it’s just how that thumb feels. I guess there’s just certain aspects of the game like tackling and grappling that’ll be the true test. We’ll give that a test on Thursday.”
Meanwhile, Peter O’Mahony’s role in training this morning was more restricted than Sexton’s. The 24-year-old took part in running tests yesterday, to which his hamstring problem responded well.
Still, Plumtree was hesitant to suggest that O’Mahony would be available against Italy.
He looked better today. Again, we’ll make that call on Thursday. He hasn’t done a lot of team work with us. He was pretty banged up after England and it’s just whether his body is 100% ready to go, bearing in mind that we’ve still got another big Test match next week as well [against France].”
If O’Mahony is not fit for selection, Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock and Ulsterman Iain Henderson present options for head coach Schmidt in the number six shirt.