Rob Kearney to resume running but is a doubt for Scotland opener

Ireland management are hopeful full-back will be back running later this week

Rob Kearney at Ireland training ahead of the opening Rugby World Cup matches against Scotland. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rob Kearney at Ireland training ahead of the opening Rugby World Cup matches against Scotland. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

The Irish management have moved to ease fears concerning Rob Kearney’s injury scare after the squad trained on Monday at their first Japanese base in Chiba, and are hopeful that the full-back will be able to run by Wednesday.

News of Kearney’s calf issue prompted what an IRFU spokesperson described as a “bit of a flurry last night about Rob Kearney” who, he said, “got a bit of tightness in his calf.”

Tuesday is a down day for the squad but the spokesperson said: “we would hope that he’ll be out running on Wednesday, so we’ll be able to update again on Wednesday how he’s going.”

However, if not tomorrow, then as Thursday is another down day, they are hopeful Kearney will be running on Friday, so he must still be considered a doubt.

The spokesperson also confirmed that Robbie Henshaw is “not likely to play at the weekend” but the management are “hopeful that he will be back up and running in Japan week” – before next Saturday week’s second Pool A game against the hosts.

The squad will train in Yokohama Stadium on Friday, as they will be unable to do so on Saturday given that monstrous New Zealand-South Africa game will be held there that day.

Joey Carbery trained fully and Keith Earls did some running on Monday to further ease Ireland’s casualty list, but Kearney’s availability would be signficiant. The forecast for torrential rain adds to the importance of having the 33-year-old’s experience, both in the way he reads the game, covers the ground and provides guidance to those around him.

Kearney looked particularly sharp in this regard in the final warm-up game against Wales, when also ending a 26-match run at Test level dating back to the pool win over France four years ago.

Ciaran Ruddock, who was part of the Irish Under-20 World Cup squad in Japan a decade ago in tandem with his brother Rhys, is also here again as part of the strength and conditioning team.

Holding a press conference along with his brother, Ruddock made light of the soft tissues which have afflicted ireland’s build-up.

“Look, obviously, you never want to see anyone getting injured when you’re coaching but there’s not a huge concern at the moment. We’ve got a really good plan. I think we are coming together really well but even if you look at the players who are fit and healthy coming into this tournament, I think we’ve put together a really good plan and we’re confident that we’ve periodised it really well to allow the guys to be performing at their best now.”

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