Jared Payne’s ‘bruised foot’ sees him sit out training
Fullback Rob Kearney remains the other doubt for Italy game
Jared Payne is an injury doubt for the upcoming Italy game. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Jared Payne’s “bruised foot” kept him out of training today at Surrey Sports Park, making the 29-year-old Kiwi and Rob Kearney the only known doubts ahead of the Italy game on Sunday at the Olympic stadium.
“Rob ran around so fingers crossed for the rest of the week, we can go into Italy with a full squad to choose from,” said scrum coach Greg Feek.
“No, he didn’t train,” added Feek of Payne. “He has a bit of a bruise so we’ll see how he goes.”
The intention is that “the best team to beat Italy has to take the field” so if Kearney doesn’t make it Simon Zebo would remain at fullback but the 13 jersey, should Payne fail to recover, could be one from Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw and Darren Cave.
Henshaw will presumably run at 12 having recovered from a hamstring strain. The other three have all ran at outside centre in recent games.
“If we’re lucky enough to beat Italy and beat them well, then we need to build from there because France bring a different element to Italy in terms of size and power but, similar things around the breakdown, defence and set-piece,” said Feek.
The mantra in Ireland camp is about a week to week focus but Feek did concede the coaches are constantly peering ahead.
“Yeah, we’re not stupid in terms of not looking and that’s our job to be able to do that. Eighty or eight five percent of the time you have to get that first week right. If you have a day off then maybe you might spend a little bit of time looking ahead, but really you’re knuckling down to get that right and a lot of our basics that we do we want to incorporate into games. There’s a lot of basics in rugby that you need to keep building well and that’s a key thing we’re trying to drive.”
Team is announced Friday lunch time.