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Aki and O'Mahony return to full Ireland training as Sexton is 'monitored'

Ireland were back on the training pitch today as they build-up to Saturday’s clash with Japan.

BUNDEE AKI AND Peter O’Mahony have returned to full training with Ireland after coming through head injury assessments.

Inside centre Aki and blindside flanker O’Mahony were both forced off with head injuries in last weekend’s World Cup win over Scotland and failed HIA1.

However, they have passed both HIA2 and HIA3, meaning they have been cleared to train fully with Ireland ahead of Saturday’s second Pool A clash with Japan in Shizuoka.

bundee-aki Aki in the gym with Ireland today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Meanwhile, Keith Earls, Rob Kearney, and Joey Carbery all trained fully with Ireland at the Yumeria Grounds in the Shizuoka prefecture today, putting them in line to make returns from injury this weekend, having been ruled out of the victory over Scotland.

“Those three guys have made really good progress,” said Ireland assistant coach Richie Murphy. “Even by the end of last week, they were ready to play.

“We didn’t feel like it was the right thing to put them in with the fact that we had other players in the 31 man squad that we were happy with and knew that could do a job for us.”

The return to fitness of all of the above is a real boost for Ireland ahead of this weekend’s meeting with the Japanese, leaving Joe Schmidt with plenty of selection options across the board.

Out-half Johnny Sexton did not take a full part in Ireland’s squad training session after sustaining a knock to his quad during the clash with the Scots, although Murphy insisted that the 34-year-old only doing portions of training is not unusual.

“Johnny went through some rehab today,” said Murphy. “He did some work with the team but has been sort of monitored.

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“We’ll expect to train fully on Thursday and it wouldn’t be unusual for him not to train two days after a Test match.”

jonathan-sexton Sexton did some parts of Ireland's on-pitch session. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sexton handed place-kicking duties over to Conor Murray last weekend after taking the knock in the first half, although he remained on the pitch until the 58th minute when he was replaced by Jack Carty.

“He got a knock on the quad and when you kick, you kick with your quad,” said Murphy. “He just didn’t feel comfortable to kick during the game, so we have no problem passing over the duties. Conor has done it before for us.

“He’s not a regular kicker for Munster but when he comes into camp, we have him lined up as our number two on the pitch. Johnny passed over the duties, Conor took them on.” 

It remains to be seen if Ireland send Sexton back into action this weekend, while Robbie Henshaw remains on the comeback trail from his hamstring injury.

“He was in training today,” said Murphy of Henshaw. “He’s in his sort of return-to-play so he’s done a lot of running today, came through that no problem.

“We’re going to keep an eye on him this week to see what he’s like on Thursday and make a decision on him then.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from the Yumeria Grounds

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