Rob Kearney may miss Italy game in bid to be fully-fit for France

Robbie Henshaw expected to make World cup debut against Italy

Robbie Henshaw during a gym session at  Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on Tuesday. The Connacht centre is in line to make his World Cup debut against Italy next Sunday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Robbie Henshaw during a gym session at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on Tuesday. The Connacht centre is in line to make his World Cup debut against Italy next Sunday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Rob Kearney could conceivably play against Italy on Sunday but his glute strain is being managed with a view to a full recovery ahead of the French game in Cardiff on October 11th.

Robbie Henshaw is almost certain to make his World Cup debut in Ireland’s midfield at the Olympic Stadium.

“I think Robbie Henshaw is definitely going to come into the fray over the next wee while,” said Darren Cave. “He’s done enough over the last couple of years in the green jersey of Connacht and Ireland to warrant a go in the coming weeks.”

Cave was the latest Irish player to strongly disagree with assertions by TV3 analysts Matt Williams, Peter Stringer and Keith Wood that Jared Payne wasn’t delivering at outside centre.

“I actually thought the Canada game was potentially Jared’s best game in green. I haven’t seen fully what was said about him but I’ve seen a few things. And it’s just opinion at the end of the day, it’s not really based on fact.

“I heard about him apparently kicking the ball away too much but I think he kicked the ball twice [against Romania] and both times it was penalty advantage, and both times we went back for the penalty.

“So we’ll deal with facts not opinions.

“And I really enjoyed playing alongside him when I was named at 12 and he was named at 13 beside me, I knew I’d feel very comfortable in there.

“He’s an incredible communicator, and a lot of his qualities, you can almost see the way he’s been brought up, everything he does is so simple. I think he sees space really well, he makes really good, strong decisions on the ball and he’s a good communicator so he’s really good to defend with.

“And at the end of the day you want to play with guys who make your job easier, and the amount of information he gives you, I think he’s done very well for Ireland over the past while.

“And if anything I suppose I’d be a bit jealous that I haven’t got as many games as he has over the last year and done as well as he has.”

The concern was put to Cave that when a former professional coach and two ex-internationals, with a combined total of 156 caps for Ireland, criticise a player the public might believe them.

“In fairness to Jared I’d be surprised if he’s paid much attention to it but, yeah, if it was me I would probably be pretty annoyed. It can be frustrating when guys are just throwing out opinions which aren’t based on facts of what actually happened in the game, then suddenly that becomes everyone else’s opinion who’ve had a couple of beers and watched the game. After a week it’s the perception of half the nation and it’s just completely false.”

Meanwhile, Seán Cronin believes Sergio Parisse’s possible return to the Italy side for next Sunday’s game will provide a huge boost to the Azzurri.

Parisse has arrived in Italy camp after being treated in Paris for a calf injury after missing Italy’s opening two games.

“He’s absolutely huge for them,” admitted Cronin. “I’m sure he’s going to give them a huge lift. You can see they raise the game with him in the side.

“He’s their go-to man in a lot of areas in their play. His kick-off return, his kick-chase and his dominance in the air, they are all aspects of a number eight’s game that aren’t usually to the level that he has. So he’s massive in a lot of areas for them. So he’ll be huge for them and we’re expecting him to play.”

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