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Ireland expect to be without Caelan Doris 'for the foreseeable future'

However, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell expects to have several players back from injury for the Italy game.

Doris is sidelined with a head injury.
Doris is sidelined with a head injury.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD COACH Andy Farrell says they don’t expect number eight Caelan Doris to return “any time soon” as the Leinster man deals with a head injury.

The 22-year-old was withdrawn from the Ireland squad the week before their Six Nations opener against Wales after flagging concussion symptoms.

Leinster have since confirmed that there has been further investigation into those symptoms and said this week that “once the investigation is complete and all information is to hand, a further update will be given.”

It’s understood that Doris, who is a first-choice player for Ireland, will be given as much time as necessary with his recovery and Ireland boss Farrell suggested that the Mayo native won’t be returning to the Ireland mix during this Six Nations.

“Yeah, we are for the foreseeable future,” said Farrell when asked if Ireland are expecting to continue to be without Doris.

“Caelan is getting well looked after, seeing the right people, getting the right advice, and making sure he’s comfortable on his return to play. That’s still in process but we don’t intend to see him back any time soon.”

In more positive injury news, Farrell confirmed that Johnny Sexton and James Ryan are still on track to be fully fit for Ireland’s clash with Italy in two weekends’ time, having missed the defeat to France last Sunday. 

Farrell said that Dave Kilcoyne missed the French game with a calf injury but is on track to be fit for the start of next week’s training, while scrum-half Conor Murray is also expected to overcome his hamstring injury.

Ireland will be looking to bounce back in Rome following defeats in both of their opening Six Nations games, with Farrell stating that he is “pretty confident” in his side’s attack despite a poor showing in that area against France.

While many supporters hope to see inexperienced young players given opportunities in Rome, Farrell underlined that he wouldn’t be taking anything for granted against Italy.

“I’ll do what’s right for the team and what’s right for the team is making sure we get the best performance out of them. We’ll pick the strongest team we need to to make that happen.

“You always take a big view [of the future], you always have that in the forefront of your mind but you certainly have to concentrate on the here and now.

andy-farrell Farrell will pick a strong team for the Italy clash. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“If you look at the context of what’s happening for us, you’ve got to look at the balance of our squad and the game time people have had, and what’s coming up with this fallow week, then another game, and another fallow week. Some of these guys might not have played for five or six weeks, so there’s all sorts of things that have to come into it.

“But first and foremost for me is doing what’s right for the squad.”

France have reported three positive Covid-19 cases since their meeting with Ireland on Sunday, while the France 7s squad, who trained against Fabian Galthié’s side last week, have also recorded positives cases. 

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However, the Ireland squad and coaches all tested negative on Monday and were tested again yesterday.

“We’ve all been thoroughly tested,” said Farrell. “We normally get tested twice a week. We had some down time on Monday and got tested in our own time there. All that has come back negative.

“The lads got tested again on Wednesday to come into camp and we are getting tested again on Friday so we are literally up to our noses in it as far as testing is concerned. We are doing everything we can to make sure we are doing the right thing.”

With an increasing amount of pressure on Ireland now following their two defeats, questions are being asked about Farrell and his coaching staff, but the head coach said he welcomes it.

“I’ve dealt with it all my life,” said Farrell. “You either embrace pressure or you get buried by it. I enjoy it. It makes you feel alive.

“You know when you’re taking the gig on… I believe that if you’ve not got pressure in your life, it’s not worth living. It goes with the territory I suppose.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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