Johnny Sexton a doubt for Ireland’s Japan clash due to quad injury

Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki both back after passing HIAs following Scotland win

Johnny Sexton is a doubt for Ireland’s second RWC clash with Japan. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

Johnny Sexton is a doubt for Ireland’s second RWC clash with Japan. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

 

Johnny Sexton is struggling to feature against Japan on Saturday due to a quad injury. The 34-year-old was unable to take part in Ireland training at the Yumera Grounds in the isolated Iwata outpost of Shizuoka on Tuesday.

“Johnny went through rehab today,” said Ireland kicking coach Richie Murphy, “but he had also done some work with the team.

“He’s being monitored. We expect him to train fully on Thursday. That wouldn’t be unusual for him not to train two days after a Test match.”

Murphy expressed confidence in Sexton’s ability to recover from a “bang on the leg” that forced Conor Murray to take three kicks at goal - he missed two - against Scotland last Sunday.

“He got a bit of a bang on the leg,” said Murphy. “He just didn’t feel comfortable to kick during the game so we have no problem passing over the duties.

“Conor has done it before for us. He’s not a regular kicker for Munster but when he comes into camp we have him lined up as number two on the pitch. He passed over the duties, Conor took them on. Disappointed he missed two but that’s the way it goes.”

Keith Earls is back in full training ahead of Ireland’s clash with Japan. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty
Keith Earls is back in full training ahead of Ireland’s clash with Japan. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty

Murray only kicks long range penalties for Munster and whenever the starting outhalf, usually Joey Carbery, is unavailable.

Carbery and Jack Carty now appear in a battle to either start at 10 or come off the bench, should Sexton recover.

Murphy clarified the Sexton injury against Scotland as a, “knock on the quad and when you kick you kick with your quad.”

The Irish management are happy to state Carbery, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney are fully fit for selection. However, they made similar sounds last week when all three players were subsequently excluded from the match day squad.

Despite both failing their head injury assessments during the 27-3 victory over Scotland, Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki were cleared Monday night to return to full contact training.

“Bundee and Pete have both passed HIA 3 which means they’re fit to return to training, which they’ve done today. All the other guys that we talked about early on last week and you had an update on yesterday all participated in training today.”

Robbie Henshaw will not feature Saturday at the Ecopa stadium due to a hamstring injury.

Interestingly, Will Addison, the Irish reserve who was the likely cover for Henshaw or Kearney, is unavailable for Ulster due to a lower limb problem.

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