Ireland boost as Carbery nears return
Joey Carbery has returned to Leinster training and hopes to play in the province's next game against Treviso in two weeks' time.
If he comes through his return unscathed and plays again a week later against Edinburgh, the 21-year-old will be back in the frame for the Ireland squad having played in three of the four internationals in November.
Carbery's rapid rise was halted when he damaged his ankle in Leinster's win at Northampton in December. The syndesmosis injury required surgery, but he has come through his rehabilitation in time to be available for the later rounds of the Six Nations.
Joe Schmidt named just two out-halves - Paddy Jackson and Johnny Sexton - in his 40-man squad for the opening Championship fixtures against Scotland and Italy with Sexton hoping to shrug off his calf problem in time for the Saturday's opener at Murrayfield.
The return of a fully-fit Carbery would boost Schmidt's options.
"I'm nearly back," Carbery told the Irish Independent in an exclusive interview that will be published in full on Monday. "I'm back running and the strength has come back a lot. They've done a lot of tests comparing the two ankles and it's pretty much the same, so it's kind of working back into the team and getting the skills back.
"It's a bit disappointing (to miss out on the initial squad) because I love being in that environment. Hopefully when I get back fit and running, playing games, I might be involved but all I can do is concentrate on a big few weeks for Leinster coming up and see where that brings me. I'm fully back training next week, so I'll hopefully be involved in the Treviso game away and so hopefully we'll get the ball rolling from there."
Meanwhile, April 1 will be a Super Saturday for Irish rugby after EPCR announced a double-header of home Champions Cup quarter-finals yesterday.
Leinster will take on Wasps at the Aviva Stadium at 3.15, before Munster's clash with Toulouse kicks off at Thomond Park at 5.45.
The games between Saracens and Glasgow Warriors and Clermont Auvergne and Toulon will take place on Sunday, April 2.