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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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# On the Move
Henshaw flies home to see knee specialist as Ireland regroup to go 'full steam'
Joe Schmidt’s squad went for a dip in the Indian Ocean this morning as they recovered ahead of next Saturday’s big third Test.

Rory Keane reports from Port Elizabeth

ROBBIE HENSHAW HAS returned to Ireland to consult a specialist about the knee injury which ruled him out of the third Test decider against South Africa.

The Leinster-bound centre damaged his knee tackling Lionel Mapoe in the dying minutes of Ireland’s 32-26 defeat at Ellis Park and was replaced by Ian Madigan.

Speaking at Ireland’s team base in Port Elizabeth this afternoon, team manager Mick Kearney confirmed that Henshaw would take no further part on the tour.

“Robbie Henshaw has returned home and will see a consultant about his knee in Dublin, just to assess the severity of his injury,” said Kearney.

“Apart from Robbie all 31 players are expected to train for the rest of the week. Rhys Ruddock did get a couple of stitches above his eye but he’ll be fine.

The lads underwent a good recovery session in the Indian Ocean this morning and have the rest of the day off apart from a walk-through this afternoon. They will then train as normal tomorrow morning, down day Wednesday, train again Thursday and then captain’s run at the Nelson Mandela stadium on Friday.”

The former Connacht midfielder is thought to have sustained knee cartilage damage having left the field on a medical buggy during last weekend’s thrilling contest.

“I don’t know, it’s too early to assess as this stage,” said Kearney on the severity of Henshaw’s injury.

“He’ll go back and he’ll see somebody, I’m sure, as soon as possible and we’ll probably know a bit more later in the week.”

In the absence of Henshaw, Schmidt may opt to recall Luke Marshall to the midfield and pair him with Jared Payne, who has impressed at fullback in the past few games. That would mean a return for Keith Earls on the left wing and a potential first Test start for Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back while Stuart Olding and Ian Madigan are also options in midfield.

Joe Schmidt Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Still recovering from a bruising encounter in Johannesburg, Joe Schmidt’s squad enjoyed a rest day in their new surroundings, but will get back to business tomorrow ahead of the third and final clash with the Springboks at Nelson Mandela Bat Stadium on Saturday.

“It will be a full training session,” added Kearney.

“We were a little bit delayed coming up from Johannesburg yesterday which probably in hindsight wasn’t a bad thing because it allowed the lads to rest up in the morning.

“So we got here about 7pm last night and had a lie-in this morning. They enjoyed the swim out in the ocean, so a very easy day today and then tomorrow they’ll be back, full steam ahead for Saturday. So a normal Tuesday training session tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Springboks head coach Allister Coetzee is sweating on the fitness of Duane Vermeulen (elbow), Warren Whiteley (shoulder) and Trevor Nyakane (ankle) after the trio picked up injuries against Ireland last time out.

Impact

Lions number eight Whiteley made a huge impact when he replaced Toulon forward Vermeulen at half-time, crossing for one of the home side’s four second-half tries.

“Duane and obviously Warren and Trevor Nyakene have been to the specialists this morning,” said Coetzee.

“We are awaiting a full report from the specialists of the scans. They won’t be training today. There’s a big possibility that Warren will be training this afternoon. Obviously no contact, but I don’t think Duane or Trevor will participate in training this afternoon.”

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