'It can't be a risk, he has to be fully fit' - Furlong's hamstring a major worry

Andrew Porter and John Ryan are next in line for Joe Schmidt’s team.

TADHG FURLONG HAS entered the ‘key player’ bracket for Ireland over the last year and a half, meaning there will have been anxiety for Joe Schmidt since the tighthead’s hamstring injury against Italy two weekends ago.

While yesterday’s injury update from assistant coach Andy Farrell indicated that the tighthead prop was “hitting his markers” in terms of his rehabilitation from the hamstring issue, Furlong remains a big doubt for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales.

Tadhg Furlong Furlong at Ireland training yesterday. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Furlong has not trained fully with Ireland this week and Farrell yesterday insisted they will wait until Wednesday evening or perhaps even Thursday before making a final call on him.

“It can’t be a risk, he has to be fully fit,” said Farrell yesterday. “He is hitting those targets, those markers to progress – to say ‘there is the line, he is fully fit’. It is just a matter of time. He is going through a process.

“I think you have heard this before – it is never an ideal world but this is the world we live in in international sport.”

Ireland would have hoped for Furlong to be fully fit in time to train yesterday and it means any involvement this weekend against the Welsh would appear to involve that element of risk.

A rest weekend on the other side of this fixture might have offered some comfort, but Ireland cannot afford to aggravate Furlong’s injury and potentially see him ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations.

As such, Andrew Porter and John Ryan have been on standby for Ireland – with the Leinster man remaining in Ireland camp in Athlone last week, while the Munster prop returned to his province for Guinness Pro14 action.

Andrew Porter with Bundee Aki Andrew Porter played 75 minutes against Italy. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Losing Furlong would be a huge blow to Ireland’s chances against Wales, but Farrell claimed that the exposure Porter and Ryan would get as a result could be a major positive.

“We don’t know what the final team announcement is going to be yet, but it’s all about the squad,” said Farrell yesterday. “When you mention guys of that quality and potential at the same time, I think we’re in a tremendous place.

“I don’t think we can lose, really. The more exposure these guys get, the closer they get to being the class international players that we want them to be.”

Iain Henderson didn’t train fully with Ireland yesterday either, as he recovers from a hamstring/thigh issue, although the return to full fitness of James Ryan provides comfort in the locking department ahead of Schmidt naming his team tomorrow afternoon.

Scotland name side aiming for first Six Nations win over England in a decade

Bastareaud back from ban as France make 5 changes for Friday night’s game against Italy

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel