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Dublin: 14°C Friday 23 April 2021

Furlong remains hopeful of being fit for restart of Ireland's Six Nations campaign

The 27-year-old Leinster tighthead hasn’t played since rugby got back up and running in August.

LEINSTER ARE HOPEFUL that Tadhg Furlong will return to fitness ahead of Ireland’s restarted Six Nations campaign in four weekends’ time.

The 27-year-old tighthead prop recently suffered a new calf injury, having previously been sidelined with a back issue.

Furlong last played a game in February before lockdown and Ireland head coach Andy Farrell will be hoping the Wexford man can overcome this calf problem without any setbacks.

irelands-tadhg-furlong Furlong hasn't played since rugby's restart in August. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster said yesterday that Furlong’s latest issue isn’t a major injury and that there remains hope he will be fit for the start of Ireland’s autumn Tests against Italy on 24 October.

“I don’t think there is a definitive number, we’re not talking a major calf tear at all,” said Lancaster when asked how long Furlong will be out for.

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“I don’t think he’s out of the equation at all. The one thing I think Tadhg would want before playing against Italy is a game, the only game he’s going to get is a game for Leinster ideally. So I think that’s the goal really.

“I’m pretty certain he will be up and running by that time. But if Ireland is sufficiently confident to put him without a game, I guess, it remains to be seen. I guess it is the options they have available.”

Furlong will miss Leinster’s Pro14 season opener against the Dragons at the RDS on Friday night, while it’s unclear if he will return for the visit to Benetton the following weekend. Leinster don’t have a senior game on the weekend of 16/17/18 October.

Andrew Porter has been starting at tighthead prop for Leinster in Furlong’s absence and would be favourite to take that slot with Ireland too.

Ulster’s uncapped 22-year-old Tom O’Toole was part of Ireland’s Six Nations squad earlier this year and has been in good form since rugby’s restart, while the likes of Munster man John Ryan and Connacht’s Finlay Bealham have Test experience.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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