Crocked Sexton could return for French face-off

9 February 2013; Ireland's Jonathan Sexton during the captain's run ahead of their RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match against England on Sunday. Ireland Rugby Squad Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Des Berry

IRELAND out-half Jonathan Sexton has not been ruled out of making a sensational return from a grade two hamstring tear suffered against England just over two weeks ago, according to an IRFU statement released last night.

He "is continuing his rehabilitation on his hamstring injury and has progressed well to the extent that he is expected to run this week as part of his recovery programme".

However, it would be optimistic in the extreme to expect Sexton to appear without the possibility of reinjuring the hamstring.

The powers of Sexton's positive mental attitude mean anything is possible and how his Ireland coach needs his first-choice fly-half back at the controls.

Then again, it would provide a smokescreen of sorts as Declan Kidney decides on whether to stick by Paddy Jackson or reintroduce Ronan O'Gara to the number 10 jersey.

Second row Mike McCarthy's medial knee ligament injury has progressed well enough that he is already running. He will be retested at the end of the week to assess his availability for the France game.


There was good news for the beleaguered Irish management as Donnacha Ryan (shoulder) and Craig Gilroy (groin) were shown to have no significant structural damage from their MRI scans yesterday.

Both men will undergo rehabilitation treatment through the week with a view to making them available for the next Six Nations encounter at home to France on Saturday week.

Flanker Chris Henry will take no further part in the competition. He underwent surgery on a meniscal tear in his knee last week. He will follow a four-week return-to-play recovery.

Leinster centre Gordon D'Arcy will be in a boot for another 10 days to rest the stress injury in his foot. At that point, the Wexfordman will be rescanned to check on his progress.

Meanwhile, Ireland prop Cian Healy's appeal against his three-week ban from international rugby will take place tomorrow in Glasgow.

The chairman of the independent Six Nations appeal hearing will be Professor Lorne Crerar (Scotland), who will sit alongside Rod McKenzie (Scotland) and Antony Davies (England).