Ireland's Caelan Doris. Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Injury Update

Doris sits out Ireland training as Frawley gets set for chance at 15

Doris, Hugo Keenan, and Iain Henderson are all doubts.

IRELAND NUMBER EIGHT Caelan Doris sat out training today but assistant coach Simon Easterby insists they haven’t ruled him out of Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Dublin.

Doris has played all 160 minutes of Ireland’s campaign so far, captaining the side in their win over Italy two weekends ago, a game in which he suffered a few “bumps and bruises” according to Easterby.

The Ireland defence coach said they are keen to manage Doris’ workload as a result.

“Caelan didn’t train and that was the plan at the beginning of the week, just to manage him,” said Easterby.

“But we’re expecting him to train fully tomorrow, so there should be no issue with Caelan.

“I guess he took a few hits against Italy and he’s in a good place but he needs to be managed in a couple of areas. We don’t expect him not to be fully fit for the weekend.”

If Doris is ruled out, Jack Conan is favourite to start at number eight for Ireland.

Fullback Hugo Keenan is another man who wasn’t involved in Ireland training today as he continues to deal with the knee injury he suffered against Italy.

hugo-keenan Hugo Keenan is a major doubt for the weekend. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

Keenan is a major doubt for the clash with Wales, with Easterby admitting that Ireland are excited to see someone else get a chance at fullback if he misses Saturday’s match.

“It’s sort of similar to Caelan,” said Easterby. “Hugo has been such a massive part of this group since he first made his debut a few years ago, so it’s important that we give him the opportunity to prove his fitness, but we are really excited as well about the opportunities that might present if he doesn’t make it.

“We feel really excited about what’s to come in and the opportunities that other guys will get to step up.”

Ciarán Frawley is expected to be at number 15 if Keenan is ruled out and Easterby said the versatile Leinster man has impressed the Irish coaches.

Frawley made his Ireland debut at out-half against Italy last summer and came off the bench at fullback for the closing 90 seconds of their win against France in the opening game of this Six Nations.

“Frawls is really confident and he will often cover more than one position – 15, 10, 12,” said Easterby.

“Someone like that has to be really competent and he is. He is giving guys a lot of confidence in the back and he’s got a real good way about him. He is quite unassuming but he’s really confident and he is composed.

“He’s really thriving in that position and he’s a player that has been on the radar for a while. Opportunities have maybe been a bit short for him in terms of his position at Leinster, being moved around a little bit, but he certainly is a player we would really be keen and excited about seeing at 15.”

iain-henderson Iain Henderson also sat out training. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Ulster lock Iain Henderson looks likely to miss out on the Wales clash after suffering a foot injury in his province’s URC defeat to the Ospreys last weekend.

Joe McCarthy and Tadhg Beirne could start in the second row, with James Ryan on the bench.

“Hendy is still being assessed,” said Easterby. “He played on the weekend against the Ospreys so he is still being assessed for a foot injury.

“We’re leaving him a little bit of time. Those injuries take a bit longer to settle down and the assessment will probably be done with the other guys tomorrow.”

However, Ireland will welcome captain Peter O’Mahony and tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong back after missing the Italy game, while centre Garry Ringrose is fit to feature for the first time in this Six Nations.

“Garry has obviously missed the first couple of weeks and I think it was the right thing to do for him to make sure he gets that shoulder right but he’s in a really good place,” said Easterby.

“We’re really fortunate with the guys we have in that midfield. I thought Stu [McCloskey] was excellent on the weekend against Italy. It’s a really competitive position with Robbie [Henshaw], Bundee [Aki], Stu, and Garry in there.

“It’s positive we’ve got those guys firing and it will be important not just this weekend but on into England and Scotland that we’ve got a full deck to choose from.”

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