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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 17 December, 2018

Sean O'Brien sits out Ireland training as Wales clash looms

Garry Ringrose has not joined the squad permanently but may train again later this week.

SEAN O’BRIEN SAT out Ireland training at Carton House today ahead of Sunday’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Dublin.

Sean O'Brien O'Brien did not train today in Carton House. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The back row reported tightness in his hamstring this morning and was pulled from the on-pitch session by Joe Schmidt and the Ireland medical team as a result.

O’Brien has not been ruled out of this weekend’s meeting with Warren Gatland’s Welshmen at this stage, but will have to come through Friday’s pitch session to prove his fitness for the vital Six Nations clash.

Losing the Tullow man would be a huge blow for Schmidt’s side against a powerful Welsh XV.

“Everyone apart from Sean,” said Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby this afternoon when asked if the entire squad had trained.

He stood out of training today, so it was more precautionary than anything. We’ve got Friday and Saturday, because we’ve got a longer week this week where we’re into the Sunday game. So we’re in a good place, we feel pretty comfortable.”

Schmidt is well known for his preference to have all of his starting XV complete the entire training week in the lead-up to Test matches, although O’Brien’s experience means any such concerns would be reduced.

Asked about the nature of O’Brien’s injury, Easterby suggested that there were not major concerns.

“He was just tight, a tight hamstring,” said Easterby. “There’s nothing unusual there, it’s something that he might have had in the past and other players have these things. You’ve just got to manage him.

“He’s got a down day tomorrow and he doesn’t have to train again until Friday, so we’re pretty comfortable with the amount of work he’s got in in the early part of this week and last week to feel that we could manage his tightness.”

Garry Ringrose Ringrose has not been added permanently to the squad. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

After Luke Fitzgerald was ruled out of Ireland’s entire Six Nations campaign, Leinster’s 21-year-old centre Garry Ringrose took part in the session at Carton House today.

Easterby confirmed that Ringrose has not permanently replaced Fitzgerald, but did say the promising midfielder may train with Ireland again on Friday.

“We haven’t replaced Luke Fitzgerald yet, so Garry Ringrose came in to cover for him because Leinster have no game this week,” said Easterby.

“Garry was only in currently just for today’s session. He may come back in later in the week, but like I say we haven’t named a full-time replacement for Luke yet.”

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Murray Kinsella

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