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Rob Kearney emerges as a doubt in latest Ireland injury concern

The 33-year-old could miss the World Cup opener against Scotland this weekend.

IRELAND FULLBACK ROB Kearney has emerged as an injury doubt for Ireland’s World Cup opener against Scotland on Sunday in Yokohama.

News of a calf issue for the 33-year-old comes hot on the heels of Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw suffering a hamstring injury in training on Saturday, one that will see him miss the game against Scotland at the very least.

rob-kearney Kearney is a key man for Ireland. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ireland now look like they could be without another key back on Sunday, with Kearney understood to have picked up a calf issue at training in Chiba today.

The Leinster man is a key player in Schmidt’s squad, providing experience and nous from the 15 shirt. Those attributes would be helpful for Ireland on Sunday, particularly with rain forecast for Yokohama.

If Kearney is ruled out of the clash with Gregor Townsend’s Scots, Jordan Larmour or Andrew Conway seem likely to start at fullback for Ireland.

22-year-old Larmour has been the preferred back-up option at 15 recently, having started four Tests at fullback since November 2018, while Conway has played only 32 minutes there for Ireland over the past two seasons.

The 92-times capped Kearney was set to be at 15 this weekend, however, and losing him would be a blow for Ireland, particularly so soon after Henshaw’s injury.

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Wing Keith Earls’ involvement this weekend is also uncertain as he has yet to train fully with Ireland in Japan, although out-half Joey Carbery is set to be available this weekend after recovering from an ankle injury.

Ireland’s next press conference takes place on Tuesday morning [1am Irish time] in Chiba, where they are expected to provide an update on Kearney. 

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Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Chiba

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