Wednesday 13 December 2017

Injury doubts emerge as Jared Payne and Sean O'Brien take no part in captain's run at the Aviva

Peter O'Mahony could be brought in, if Sean O'Brien loses out through injury
Peter O'Mahony could be brought in, if Sean O'Brien loses out through injury
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland are sweating over the fitness of Sean O’Brien and Jared Payne ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Australia.

Neither player took part in Ireland’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium today and a decision will be made tomorrow morning on whether or not they are fit enough to play.

Both players spoke with the media yesterday and didn’t appear to be carrying knocks but defence coach Andy Farrell confirmed that both players were “rested”.

Farrell insisted that O’Brien and Payne would both be given a chance to prove their fitness but having not taken part in this morning’s session, there are serious doubts about them recovering in time.

Rory Scannell is providing cover for Payne while should O’Brien not come through in time, Peter O’Mahony who was sent back to Munster earlier this week is on standby.

"We've had a couple of guys that's had a couple of niggles, and the captain's run is normally just a stretching-legs type session," said Farrell.

"We made a couple of decisions this morning to rest Jared Payne and Sean O'Brien and see how they are in the morning.

"We'll have a discussion in the morning about their situation.

"They both have just lower-limb tweaks, that's what normally happens during the week.

"You pick things up on the way from the game, through the week and so on.

"The main session was yesterday and we decided to give a couple of players more time.

"We've kept Peter O'Mahony here, and we've got Rory Scannell as well covering for Jared Payne.

"All the main work's been done already, that's why we are resting them, to give them every chance to feel 100 per cent."

Payne remains vital to Ireland's defensive system and shape, and Ireland will be desperate for the 31-year-old to come through, especially with the inexperienced Ringrose slotting into the side.

Farrell however has insisted the late doubts have not caused Ireland any real disruption.

When asked if the fitness doubts over O'Brien and Payne had affected preparations, Farrell said: "No it hasn't, because this is what we've been building for the last year.

"We've been building strength in numbers, strength in depth is getting bigger and better all the time.

"We've seen that across the last year and on the South Africa tour and we're seeing it again."

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