Schmidt delays Chicago arrival to work with senior players

Rob Kearney and Peter O’Mahony have remained behind but are expected to be fit

Ireland’s Rob Kearney is expected to be fit for the November Test series. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Ireland’s Rob Kearney is expected to be fit for the November Test series. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Ireland’s Rob Kearney is expected to recover from injury in time to play in the November Test series after there had been some concerns he could miss out.

The fullback was immediately withdrawn after 46 minutes of Leinster’s win over Bennetton on Saturday after shipping heavy contact in a tackle. Leinster said on Tuesday that the fullback “will be further assessed by the IRFU medics this week.”

However, Ireland’s forward coach told media in Chicago that the full-back was never due to travel to the United States for this weekend’s clash with Italy and instead is staying in Ireland to work on recovery.

Also still at Carton House is Peter O’Mahony who suffered a shoulder injury late on in his Munster tense win over Glasgow but he too is expected to be fit in time for the Tests against Argentina and the All Blacks. Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is also still at the Kildare base to work with some of his senior players before he is due to fly out to Chicago on Wednesday.

“He [Kearney]will be working this week with Colm Fuller [Ireland’s lead physiotherapist], who stayed back,” said Easterby.

“Any other guys who are needing treatment will be working with him and then when we return from here, with the flight involved and potentially a few bumps and bruises from this game this weekend, we’ll assess everything on Sunday evening and make a call on next week.

“As far as we’re concerned at the moment, everyone that’s named in that squad still has the potential to play throughout the November Series.”

Of those 42 players named for the Test series, Easterby has no concerns about any being unavailable as Ireland look to field a slightly less experienced side for this Saturday’s Soldier Field meeting with Conor O’Shea’s Italy.

“Looking at the four games that we’ve got and the opportunities to build a bit of depth, there aren’t that many windows between now and the World Cup,” said Easterby.

“I think that’s been happening over a period of time but coming away from home with a group with a backbone of experience but also a lot of guys with single figure caps, we’ll find out a bit more about them.

“Joe stayed and he’s coming in tomorrow. They’ve been in Carton House for a couple of days working away and some have had an opportunity to recover from a few bumps. Others are working hard, particularly hard in a conditioning sense.

“I guess it’s a very small window, which you don’t get many of during a season, to get some work into some players and also, on the other side, it gives us an opportunity to take some less experienced players away and try to build as much depth and as many experiences as we can into a wider group.”

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