Healy boost for Kidney
Prop Cian Healy has given Irish coach Declan Kidney a huge boost and is likely to start for Ireland against the All Blacks once he makes a full recovery from a dead leg, while Rob Kearney is winning his fitness race as he attempts to stave off fierce competition for the full-back slot, WRITES DAVID KELLY.
"The old ice pack is gone now. I have this new ice and pressure machine to get me fixed up!! Making great progress," Healy said on his Twitter account.
"The most important thing with Cian is, not that we've made selections yet, the 80 minutes at the weekend," said defence coach Les Kiss yesterday. "We've got to make sure we manage it right so he's there for the whole 80 minutes."
Donnacha Ryan may miss out after being cited for stamping in Saturday's victory over Samoa, though the video evidence would appear to find him guilty of nothing more than vigorous rucking.
Ryan will attend a hearing in London today before an independent Six Nations disciplinary committee, chaired by Roger Morris (Wales) and assisted by Simon Thomas (Wales) and Achille Reali (Italy).
Ireland have no other injury worries ahead of Saturday's Lansdowne Road Test and although Keith Earls starts for Munster against Australia this evening, he is purportedly still available to start -- in contrast to Leicester's Geordan Murphy, who also played Australia last Tuesday but was ruled out of selection against Samoa.
Elsewhere, Connacht forward Robbie Morris has been forced to retire due to a back injury. The England-capped prop joined Connacht in 2007 and made his debut against South Africa.
"I've really enjoyed my time playing and met some fantastic people along the way," said Morris. "My last game was the semi-final of the Amlin Challenge Cup last season against Toulon, it was a huge effort by everyone that day and we were unlucky not to win that day, but it's a great memory to have."