Irish regroup with three main injury concerns
Jonathan Sexton (hamstring), Mike McCarthy (medial knee ligament) and Brian O’Driscoll (ankle) are the main concerns as the Irish squad regroup in Carton House today.
The fit members of the Ireland XV who started against England will convene for a two-day camp, with the rest of the squad remaining with their provinces ahead of Pro12 action.
Sexton’s availability for the Scotland game at Murrayfield on Sunday week is considered highly unlikely, ensuring extra interest in the performances of Ronan O’Gara, Ian Madigan and Paddy Jackson this weekend.
Two from that trio will provide the outhalf cover, with O’Gara expected to regain the number 10 jersey. Jackson is believed to have recovered from an ankle problem ahead of Ulster’s game, against Zebre tomorrow, while O’Gara will play for Munster in Llanelli, with Madigan at 10 for Leinster at home to Treviso.
A medical update on McCarthy and O’Driscoll is expected today. There are further concerns about Donnacha Ryan (back), Seán O’Brien (hamstring and hand) and Rob Kearney’s dead leg.
Munster pair David Kilcoyne and Keith Earls are also included, and will not feature for Munster, as they are set to replace the suspended Cian Healy and injured Simon Zebo in the starting line-up.
Meanwhile, Paddy Wallace (leg) is unlikely to feature for Ulster with Luke Marshall to start at inside centre at Ravenhill.