Jack Conan’s availability at this World Cup is under review

If he is ruled out, Ulster’s Jordi Murphy would travel from Belfast to join the squad

Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek said the Pool A favourites are under no illusions that they face a tough challenge up front when they face Japan in their second World Cup fixture. Video: Reuters

 

Jack Conan’s participation at the World Cup is under review following a foot injury picked up in training this week when an Ireland teammate stood on him.

“It’s wait and see with Jack but we’re going to get some opinions on that over the next couple of days and then go from there,” said Irish assistant coach Greg Feek after today’s Captain’s Run at the Ecopa stadium. “It’s a little bit of a setback at this stage but I think once we get the game out of the way and we get the reports in from medical and the S&C colleagues we’ll probably have some more information on that.”

The 27 year old was due to start against Japan this Saturday morning (8.15am Irish time), with CJ Stander moving to blindside flanker, but the injury has forced a reshuffle, so Peter O’Mahony comes back into the backrow and Stander stays at number eight.

The other 30 members of the squad, including injury doubts Robbie Henshaw and Johnny Sexton, were togged and out on the pitch at the Ecopa stadium this morning.

Should Conan be ruled out of the tournament, Ulster’s Jordi Murphy would travel from Belfast to join the squad next week in Kobe.

O’Mahony has been passed fit despite suffering a head knock that forced him out of last Sunday’s 27-3 victory over Scotland in Yokohama after just 25 minutes.

“It’s not something you plan, obviously it’s my second World Cup, but in the first game of the tournament it wasn’t ideal to be coming off that early,” said O’Mahony. “But, it’s part and parcel of rugby these days. You get through your return to play stuff, the S and C guys and the medical team are well used to it at this stage. It’s bread and butter for them and they were very good.

“I passed all the protocols, I trained fully on Tuesday and I’m ready to go. I’m feeling fresh and looking forward to playing.”

Meanwhile, following USA flanker John Quill becoming the first player to be red carded at Japan 2019 - for a dangerous tackle on England’s Owen Farrell last night - Garry Ringrose was asked to provide a player perspective on the risks being faced in the collision zone under World Rugby’s new tackle guidelines.

“That’s above my pay grade, all the rules and regulations,” replied the 24 year old Ireland centre. “As a player you don’t really think about it too much. You visualise a million different types of tackles and different circumstances. When you play the game no two tackles are the same.”

Quill’s disciplinary hearing is this afternoon in Tokyo. That brings the number of players cited for dangerous tackles up to four; Australia’s Recce Hodge received a three game ban while Samoa duo Rey Lee-Lo and hooker Motu Matu’u are awaiting their hearings.

Interestingly, former Munster lock John Langford is part of the three man independent judicial committee.

“It’s hard to articulate,” Ringrose continued. “You do have an awareness where your limbs are, but it can be tricky in the moment and that’s why you sympathise with some players getting done when their might not be intent but you have to have that awareness where your limbs are on and how the ball carrier is shaping up as well,

“So, it’s a challenge but something that has become part of the game. You see it in soccer that players are training with their hands behind their backs when they are defending. There is an element of that when we are training, obviously you can’t go full on against each other, you try to keep your arms tight... and try to bring that [technique] into the game then.”

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