Ireland management remain coy on injured trio

Difficult to gauge whether Brian O’Driscoll (calf), Rob Kearney (ribs) and Johnny Sexton (hamstring) will face New Zealand

 

JOHNNY WATTERSON

Squad injury news, due to team imperatives to give little away, are regularly laced with vagueness. Yesterday was no different. John Plumtree, the Ireland forwards coach is not the medic calling the shots

but in terms of saying something that says little, Plumtree was bullseye in Carton House’s catch-up.

Brian O’Driscoll (calf), Rob Kearney (ribs) and Johnny Sexton (hamstring) are injured but how injured the three pivotal players are in the run in to Sunday’s game against New Zealand is still difficult to gauge.

“We’ll make a call on Johnny later in the week, he didn’t train today,” said Plumtree. “He had a run yesterday, about 50-60 per cent and he had a rest day today, so we’ll see how he goes on Thursday.”

Anyone who has pulled up with a tweaked hamstring can read into that assessment what they may but as hard as you want to wish good health on Sexton, it’s difficult to do. The outhalf’s hands thrown up to cover his face in disgust after the injury in the first half, perhaps said as much as we need to know.

“Rob trained today. I haven’t spoken to him since training. We didn’t do much contact,” said Plumtree of Kearney. The fullback left the field late in the match with injured ribs. Running is not a problem.

Eight-day turnabout
“Brian hasn’t trained either but we have the luxury of an eight-day turnaround,” said Plumtree about O’Driscoll adding that Peter O’Mahony did train with the squad yesterday.

A valid question was whether O’Driscoll or Sexton needed to train in order to be picked for Sunday – back-up is Ian Madigan or Paddy Jackson for Sexton, Tommy Bowe possibly at 13 for O’Driscoll and Robbie Henshaw at fullback for Kearney.

“I mean Brian O’Driscoll is important and Johnny Sexton is important. The reality is Joe would have liked them to have trained the last couple of days, but the reality of it is they haven’t been able to. So, I think they would have preferred to have trained but they can’t.”

And that obviously clears up everything.

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