Dave Kilcoyne and James Ryan expected to be fit for Fiji
The Munster prop and Leinster lock both sat out Ireland training with slight knocks
Tadhg Furlong and Dave Kilcoyne during Ireland training. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
The duo both sustained knocks when coming on as replacements in the victory over South Africa last weekend. However the two players are expected to be available for selection against Fiji.
Irish assistant coach Richie Murphy explained: “Dave Kilcoyne and James Ryan are both carrying bangs and sat out training on Tuesday but should be fit later in the week. Michael Bent has come in as cover. John Ryan has returned to Munster to do a bit of rehab but we expect him to be available for next week (for the Argentina match).
“There will be opportunities this week to change that up (the team) a little bit. It’s about taking us forward again. No matter what team goes out there it is Ireland and it’s a Test match, we set a little bit of a bar last week (in terms of performance) and we want to make sure that we are moving forward and not taking a step back. The guys that get the jerseys have to take us forward onto the next level.”
One of those is likely to be Joey Carbery, who produced an excellent cameo off the bench against the Springboks, kicking two conversions - one from the touchline - and making an excellent cross-field punt in the build-up to Jacob Stockdale’s try.
The 22-year-old was invalided out of Ireland’s summer tour having picked up an injury in the victory over the USA and has played most of his competitive rugby for Leinster this season at fullback. Nevertheless he looked assured and sharp in the outhalf role when taking over from man-of-the-match Jonathan Sexton against the Springboks.
Murphy admitted: “If you look at where he was this time last year to where he is now, he’s obviously that year older and he’s filled out a bit. He’s a little bit stronger and has come into our environment more as a 10 than as a 15 at the moment and he’s stepped up really well. He’s organised others around him and has fitted into that role really well.
“From my point of view, one of the things is goal-kicking, and he hasn’t had the opportunity to do that on a regular basis but the two strikes at the weekend were fantastic and we’ll be looking forward to him getting a bit more opportunity in that area over the next couple of weeks.
“When you don’t goal-kick on a regular basis at your club and you have to step up in front of 50,000 and it’s an international and, I don’t know, maybe his fourth cap (it was his fifth), it’s a pretty daunting place to be especially when last year the kicking didn’t go particularly well.
“He’s a strong man, he’s got a real focus on what he’s going to do in training and to bring it into the match. He stood up at the weekend which was fantastic. There will be more opportunities for him to do that again.”
Murphy conceded that Carbery is viewed primarily as an outhalf in Ireland camp. “That’s where we see him at the moment but we do also realise he has the versatility of playing at 15, and he has also played at nine before. He is one of those players that’s a little bit special because of his versatility.
“He’s a great guy to watch. You try to build opportunities in or around him and with some of our set-plays and stuff like that. At the end of the day, he is one of those guys who has an ability to beat people and those guys don’t come around very often in Ireland; there’s plenty of them in Fiji. That makes him a little bit special and a little bit different.”