IRELAND EXPECT OUT-half Johnny Sexton to be available to train fully before the end of the week as Joe Schmidt’s side prepare for their vital Six Nations showdown with Wales at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday.
The Racing Métro playmaker is continuing his recovery from the hamstring injury he sustained against England in round three, with his involvement in training early this week to be on a ‘modified basis.’
Jamie Heaslip has returned to full training after recovering from three fractured vertebrae and Ireland expect the number eight to be available for selection against Wales.
Sean O’Brien and Jared Payne are both progressing well through the return-to-play protocols following concussions against England. The Ulster centre and Leinster flanker are set to return to full training this week and Ireland have reported no setbacks for either player.
“Johnny Sexton continues to improve following a mild hamstring strain,” stated Ireland team manager Mick Kearney at Carton House this afternoon.
“As a precaution, he will have modified training during the early part of the week, with an expectation that he will train fully towards the end of the week. We’re very happy with where he’s at at the moment and he’s hit all his markers so far.
“Jamie Heaslip is expected to train fully this week and barring any setback will be available for selection.
“Finally, Sean O’Brien and Jared Payne have both progressed well through the return-to-play protocols and will be re-introduced to full training during the week.”
Asked how intent Heaslip and Sexton are on being involved this weekend, Kearney reported that both players are “very eager.”
Meanwhile, Wales have added Scarlets hooker Ken Owens and Exeter Chiefs prop Tomas Francis to their squad in the lead-up to Saturday’s clash.
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