Sunday 30 April 2017

Kearney fitness boost headache

Full-back's rapid recovery gives Kidney selection

Declan Kidney faces a hard choices ahead of next week's Six Nations clash with Wales. Photo: Getty Images
Declan Kidney faces a hard choices ahead of next week's Six Nations clash with Wales. Photo: Getty Images
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

IRELAND coach Declan Kidney faces a selection headache ahead of next week's Six Nations clash with Wales at Croke Park as Rob Kearney continues to make a rapid recovery from a knee injury.

It was initially feared that the full-back would miss the remainder of the campaign after damaging his medial ligament in his right knee in the defeat to France but after taking part in a non-contact training session yesterday, Kidney expects to have the Louth man available.

Kearney's recovery means Kidney will have to decide between restoring the Lions tourist to the No 15 shirt or sticking with Geordan Murphy, who put in a solid shift in Twickenham last weekend.

"The way he trained this morning, certainly," Kidney said, when asked whether Kearney could play against Wales. "He went about his business well but he didn't do any of the contact so we just have to see if there is any reaction."

Kidney has no other injury worries and, aside from the suspended Jerry Flannery, expects to have a full hand to pick from.

Meanwhile, Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll admitted that the bug he contracted in the run up to the win over England affected him during the game.

"I was happy enough just making the game, a minor achievement in my own head," he wrote on his blog on the IRFU website. "I was thankful to see the rain because it slowed the game down a bit.

"The illness was definitely a distraction and I was grateful to Paul O'Connell and Jamie Heaslip, amongst others, who did most of the talking prior to the match. I think I managed to camouflage the fact that I wasn't feeling great on the pitch reasonably well."

Irish Independent

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