Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# Injury Update
Sexton on track to face France, Schmidt 'hopeful' of Carbery's availability
The pair trained separately during this morning’s open session in Belfast.

Ryan Bailey reports from Queen’s University, Belfast

JOE SCHMIDT IS ‘confident’ Joey Carbery’s hamstring injury will not rule him out of the remainder of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign, allaying initial fears that the out-half is also a doubt for Munster’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh.

Carbery suffered the injury in training ahead of Ireland’s championship trip to Rome and trained separately to the rest of Schmidt’s squad at this morning’s open session at Queen’s University in Belfast.

Joey Carbery Dan Sheridan / INPHO Carbery is nursing a hamstring injury. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

The 23-year-old — who impressed off the bench during Ireland’s win over Scotland in round two — was given a modified workload under the supervision of an IRFU medic, before Schmidt delivered an update on his fitness.

The Ireland head coach said he is ‘hopeful’ Carbery will be fit for next weekend’s game against France at the Aviva Stadium, but the Munster 10 will need to come through sessions at Carton House next Wednesday and Friday. 

With Johnny Sexton also doing speed and agility work behind the posts, Connacht’s Jack Carty, who made his debut off the bench against Italy, was running reps in the pivot position during the 68-minute hit-out opposite the U20 team.

“They’re both on track, Johnny is certainly ahead of Joey,” Schmidt said afterwards. “Johnny is going to be fine [for France], he’ll train next week.

“We’re hoping that Joey will be fit to train, potentially on Wednesday.

“If he can train Wednesday and do Friday then that’s sufficient lead-in that he can be in contention, so we’ll just have to wait and see. We’d be very confident about Johnny.”

There was positive news on CJ Stander, Jordan Larmour, Tadhg Beirne and Garry Ringrose, who all missed the round three win over Italy through injury, but took a full part in this morning’s squad session.

Stander was originally ruled out for four weeks with a nasty facial injury suffered on the opening weekend against England, but the Munster number eight is back fit and raring to go.

“CJ is fine, he got a poke in the eye but that was fine,” Schmidt continued. “He’s running around refreshed, he’s very keen to be in the mix.”

Dan Leavy was in attendance but was reduced to a watching brief in front of a large Friday morning crowd at Queen’s, having trained separately with Robbie Henshaw earlier in the day. Schmidt said both are on a ‘slightly different programme.’

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Jonathan Sexton with Keith Earls Dan Sheridan / INPHO Sexton didn't train fully on Friday. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Leavy has been struggling with a calf injury and last played in Leinster’s Pro14 win over Connacht over Christmas while Henshaw has been sidelined since sustaining a dead leg against England. 

Schmidt added: “He [Leavy] and Robbie Henshaw trained this morning, so we’ve got them on a slightly different programme.

“He, again, is on track to train potentially on Tuesday next week and hopefully he’ll train Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Robbie is on the same kind of path at the moment.

“It’s how they pull up after training this morning, they worked pretty hard this morning and we’ll get a better idea post that.”

Seán O’Brien’s workload has been managed by the IRFU medical team this week and the Leinster flanker returned to his province to get through some conditioning work, while there was no sign of Sean Cronin and Jack McGrath among the 21 senior players in Belfast. 

“Just the volume of work we want to do over the three days, we thought it was better that he spread his work across the week,” the Ireland head coach said of O’Brien’s absence. 

He’s been in with us a lot, where we try to have a reasonably tight number at camp with us.

“With Seán, he was back with Leinster doing a conditioning week and he’ll be back with us on Tuesday.”

Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane, Tom Farrell were absent as they start for Connacht in Saturday’s Pro14 clash against Ospreys, with Caolin Blade named on the bench for Andy Friend’s side, while both John Cooney and Jordi Murphy start Ulster’s trip to Dragons.

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.

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