Jared Payne unlikely to start against Wales after sitting out training with 'bruising'
Jared Payne looks highly unlikely to be start Ireland's penultimate Six Nations game against Wales on Friday after he sat out training at Carton House this morning.
The Ulster centre played 80 minutes on Friday night against Treviso, his first start since injuring his kidney against Australia in November, but he suffered bruising unrelated to that injury and was unable to partake in the crucial session four days out from the game.
Rob Kearney trained fully and is expected to keep hold of his No 15 jersey for the pivotal clash at the Millennium Stadium, while Joey Carbery, Dan Leavy and Tiernan O'Halloran all sat out training after playing over the weekend.
Garry Ringrose is expected to keep his place alongside Robbie Henshaw in the midfield and forwards coach Simon Easterby says the management are comfortable with the 22-year-old continuing.
"Jared felt pretty good on the weekend. Pretty sharp. But he has been a long time out of the game and so we have been pretty comfortable with what we have picked so far and we're happy with the guys who have been playing in those positions," Easterby said.
"For Jared it is great to have him back around and hopefully we will see him train on Wednesday and then we will take it from there.
"Its bruising. It's nothing worse than that. He has been out for a long time and some players will take a little bit more to recover from games, especially when they have been out for so long.
"We can all say how impressed we have been with Garry. He is a young man in years but he certainly looks like he is playing beyond those years in terms of his understanding of the game, his awareness.
"He is an intelligent rugby player, he sees things that a lot of players can't see and guys who have been around a lot longer than him.
"We've known for a long time that he is something special and he hasn't done too much wrong."
Payne's injury means that Joe Schmidt is expected to stick closely to the team that started the win over France.
And the management were happy with how Kearney held up in training after coming off in the last game with a groin injury.
"Rob came through training today, took part in everything and we're happy that we have got through the session, as we'd hoped he would," Easterby said.
There is a place up for grabs on the bench after Andrew Trimble was ruled out on Sunday, while Schmidt may look to rotate Jack McGrath and Cian Healy once again with two games to go.