Thursday 22 February 2018

Healy fighting fit to face Kiwis but Ross touch and go

Cian Healy of Ireland runs the ball during the Ireland team training session at Onewa Domain
Cian Healy of Ireland runs the ball during the Ireland team training session at Onewa Domain

THERE was mixed news on the injury front for Declan Kidney's Ireland yesterday after the squad's first full training session ahead of Saturday's opening Test against New Zealand at Eden Park, writes HUGH FARRELLY.

Team manager Mick Kearney was happy to confirm that loosehead prop Cian Healy trained fully and was "good to go" for the weekend after the quad injury which ruled him out of Leinster's Pro12 final loss to the Ospreys two weekends ago.

Kearney added that the Ireland management were hopeful Sean O'Brien would be fit to play, saying the flanker -- who also missed the league final, which Leinster lost in the final minute -- was on "accelerated rehab" after his recent knee surgery.

The main concern remains tighthead prop Mike Ross who took only a limited part in training as he continues to recover from the hamstring tear sustained against the Ospreys.

Kearney said that Ross had not been ruled out but "remains doubtful" for Saturday, with Ulster's Declan Fitzpatrick poised to come into the No 3 jersey if the Leinster man does not make it.

New Zealand, aside from on-going doubts over hooker Keven Mealamu, have no major concerns, with Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read all expected to be named in their team on Thursday after their recent injury problems.

Irish Independent

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