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Sexton set to make timely Ireland return for play-off clash with Scotland

The 35-year-old out-half has been missed by Andy Farrell’s side.

Sexton has been a waterboy for Ireland in the last two games.
Sexton has been a waterboy for Ireland in the last two games.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

JOHNNY SEXTON WILL look to ride to the rescue yet again for Ireland at the age of 35.

Fresh from the frustration of struggling in their win over Georgia, this confidence-shorn Ireland squad need a boost and the expected return to fitness of their captain and talisman is exactly that.

Many had hoped that the Autumn Nations Cup would allow Ireland to make some move towards shaking off their over-reliance on the out-half, but it’s clear that they need him back in the number 10 shirt and captaincy role this coming weekend.

James Ryan’s first two experiences of captaining his country have been tough ones and while Billy Burns has shown some promising signs at out-half, he is now an injury doubt after a groin issue forced him off against the Georgians yesterday.

Thankfully for Ireland, Sexton is due to return from his hamstring injury, with head coach Andy Farrell confirming he expects the Leinster man back for Saturday’s huge Autumn Nations Cup play-off clash with Scotland.

“Yes,” said Farrell when asked if Sexton will make his return after missing the last two games. “He’s doing pretty well with his rehab.”

However, Ireland emerged from yesterday’s clash with Georgia with a raft of new injury concerns.

Keith Earls was replaced after suffering a back spasm, Will Connors was forced off with a head injury, Burns sustained the aforementioned groin injury during the warm-up but managed to play 46 minutes before limping off, Rob Herring picked up a rib injury, and Conor Murray suffered a dead leg.

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The scrum-half “will be fine” according to Farrell but it remains to be seen how the others fare.

Robbie Henshaw has missed the last two games with an adductor injury and his availability also remains unclear.

“There will be limited training for the guys,” said Farrell yesterday ahead of Ireland’s six-day turnaround.

“Fair play to the Georgians, some of the lads are pretty sore in there and they earned the right to slow the game down, especially at the breakdown. It was a war of attrition in there.

“We’ve not got much time on the training field. but we’ll do plenty of talking off it.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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