Rob Kearney sits out Ireland training but set to face England
Fullback being eased back in after Scotland game; Johnny Sexton trains fully
Rob Kearney sat out Ireland training at Carton House on Tuesday but is not in doubt for Saturday’s game against England. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Ireland fullback Rob Kearney sat out the Ireland training session at Carton House on Tuesday morning but is available for selection ahead of Saturday’s game against England at Twickenham (2.45pm).
Kearney, who won the man-of-the-match award for his performance in the victory over Scotland, picked up a couple of knocks in that match and his rehabilitation is being managed carefully.
Ireland skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy confirmed: “Rob is fine, it’s just a case of managing his load. He picked up a couple of bangs during the game at the weekend and we are just easing him back into the week. He is perfectly fine and available for selection.
“He [Kearney] got caught a little bit on his ankle. The medics have looked at him, they are very happy with where he is at and we felt that just with Rob’s age and stuff like that we have to look after him,” Murphy smiled.
Ireland outhalf Jonathan Sexton had one or two niggles early last week in the build-up to the Scottish match and sported some kinesiology tape on his leg in the game but he shown no adverse reaction to his endeavours last Saturday.
Murphy explained: “Johnny trained fully this morning and is fine. We were managing him a little bit through last week but he has come through that process. He had a little bit of glute [problem] but had no issues after the game or after training today . He had been slightly restricted in his training load in the previous week.
“He missed one kick from 42 or 43 metres on the angle; the rest of the kicks were really good. He’s had to manage that side of it but I think he managed it really well. He is in a good place, he trained today, he kicked today, he’ll kick tomorrow and is building into Saturday’s game with no issues.”
Ireland conceded a tournament high nine penalties against Scotland, something that rankled given their generally exemplary figures in that respect. Murphy said: “We pride ourselves on being a very disciplined team and it is one of the key areas to stop other teams getting access into the game. We would be a little disappointed that it was that high. Again we will focus on it like we do every week.”
Saturday’s game will thrust Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell and his son and England outhalf/centre Owen into opposition once again but Murphy argued that the two handle the situation very well, to the point where “he [Andy] treats him like any other player,” in terms of pre-game analysis.
Murphy was then asked about the key figures in leadership roles singling out Sexton and Ireland captain Rory Best. “He’s [Sexton] been incredible in camp this time around. He’s really driven the lads hard. He’s taken on that leadership role that we knew he was always good at; himself and Besty have been really good at integrating those young guys and showing them the standard we want them to aspire to.
“I think all the young guys just take everything in their stride. They’re so hungry; it’s definitely a bit of a new breed that’s coming through. Their work-rate is massive, sometimes it’s too big and they need to think sometimes before they go and do things. Everyone’s getting lots of feedback and week to week we can see lots of improvements in those young guys.
“It’s obviously going to be a massive occasion, but we’re not trying to deal with the occasion we’re just trying to beat England. It is key we go into this fixture like we have done for the other ones and just try and win the game that’s in front of us.”