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Fitzgerald and Moore back in contention as Ireland release two players

Cian Healy is ‘progressing well’ but still not involved in contact training.

LUKE FITZGERALD AND Marty Moore are in contention to play for Ireland against Scotland in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up clash at the Aviva Stadium (KO 17.00).

Both players underwent shoulder surgery at the end of last season but have now completed their rehabilitation and returned to full contact training at Ireland’s Carton House training base this week.

Ian Madigan with Head Coach Joe Schmidt Ian Madigan, Joe Schmidt and Nathan White, who trained with Ireland again today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Cian Healy continues to train with the group, although he has not taken part in the contact portions of the sessions and a date for his involvement in that regard is still unknown.

Meanwhile, Noel Reid and Rob Herring have both left Joe Schmidt’s squad and returned to Leinster and Ulster respectively, as the Ireland coaching staff set about reducing the numbers in their extended training group this week.

With Reid and Herring having left, and Tommy O’Donnell cruelly ruled out of the World Cup after the dislocated hip he suffered against Wales, Ireland are likely to release in the region of four more players ahead of the Scotland Test.

That’s in the process of happening,” said Ireland skills coach Richie Murphy at Carton House this afternoon when asked about the expected cutting of players.

“There’s two guys gone back to their provinces this week and over the next while, it’ll be an ongoing process. Rob Herring is gone back to Ulster and Noel Reid is gone back to Leinster.

“We’re not here just to cut players and get rid of them. We’ll see how that is and when we feel we’re in a really good position, guys will feed back to their clubs.”

Noel Reid and Luke Fitzgerald Reid (left) is now back with Leinster, but Fitzgerald could feature this weekend. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

On the injury front, Murphy reported no fresh concerns after today’s squad session under Schmidt, although wing Andrew Trimble has yet to undergo final scans on the foot injury he picked up against Wales.

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“There’s no real change since yesterday,” said Murphy. “Andrew will have a further scan tomorrow and obviously Tommy has picked up that injury and will be off his feet for about six weeks. We’ll go from there after that.

Guys are looking good. Marty is back in full contact, he looks fine. Luke Fitzgerald is back in full contact and looks really good. They’re both available at this moment in time. Most of the squad now are back on their feet and available for selection.”

Murphy underlined that losing O’Donnell at this early stage was “a massive blow” to player and squad alike, but said Ireland can’t really prepare for issues like that serious injury in Cardiff.

“You can’t plan for them, it’s a very difficult situation because you just don’t know who it’s going to be,” said Murphy.

Cian Healy Healy takes a spin down to training earlier today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“What you do is make sure that your training programmes are right, make sure that players are in a good position going into the game so they’re not overtrained and they’re not tired going in, so they’re able to give a good account of themselves and they’re able physically to be able to play.

“Tommy’s injury is a trauma injury, which you can’t account for.”

As for the status on loosehead prop Healy, still on the comeback trail after neck surgery and a subsequent concern over the speed of his recovery, Murphy couldn’t shed any new light on the situation.

There’s no real update on him, he’s progressing well is where he’s at. He trained today, he’s not doing full contact but he’s done more or less the whole session yesterday and today,” said Murphy.

“He’s progressing reasonably well, but it’s a week-to-week basis with him and we just don’t know where he’s going to be at.”

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Murray Kinsella

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