Saturday 22 October 2016

Leinster's Mike Ross fears ease as Stander gets call-up

Published 05/01/2016 | 02:30

Ireland's Mike Ross
Ireland's Mike Ross

Leinster remain confident that tight-head prop Mike Ross, Ireland's Six Nations anchor in successive title wins, will be fit to begin the quest for a hat-trick in the opening encounter against Wales on February 7.

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Ross, who left the field early with a hamstring injury in Leinster's December defeat to Toulon at the Aviva Stadium, is expected to be in a position to prove his fitness against the Dragons at the end of the month.

However, Ross, who has started all 24 championship games since 2011 and every game against Tier One opposition since his Ireland debut two years earlier, has proved before that he can resume international duty without needing a warm-up.

Tadhg Furlong was not drafted into the Ireland camp this weekend, which also indicates that fears about the fitness of the 36-year-old Cork native have been alleviated.

Jonathan Sexton received just a minor knock to his knee in last Friday's RDS win against Connacht and was in the Ireland camp at Carton House alongside a host of his Leinster colleagues, including Luke McGrath, Josh van der Flier and Garry Ringrose.

In the absence of IRFU confirmation, Munster also revealed that newly-qualified South African-born back-row forward and provincial captain CJ Stander was one of their 11 players included as Schmidt ramps up his Six Nations assault.

Irish Independent

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