Tuesday 20 August 2019

Johnny Sexton looking 'very fit and very fresh'

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray

Declan Whooley

The Ireland management team are confident that Johnny Sexton will be fully fit by time the French game comes around, but the outlook on scrum-half Conor Murray isn't so clear.

The Racing Metro number 10 is only taking part in non-contact training at Carton House this week following his fourth concussion in the space of a year with his 12 week absence coming to an end just in time for the French clash in the Six Nations.

Speaking to the media today, skills and kicking coach Richie Murray says that Sexton is looking good in training despite the lay-off.

"He’s trained today, done all the handling stuff, all the non-contact training and then a lot of fitness work as well," he said. "So he’s looking very fit and very fresh.

 “He’s been training hard for the last couple of months. It’s not like a player coming back from an injury where he hasn’t been able do anything because he’s been thrown in that week.

“You’d fancy that – because he’s been doing all the handling, all the kicking and that sort of stuff – the contact stuff will fall into place that week.”

Munster number nine Murray is still touch-and-go for the opening fixture against Italy on Saturday week after he injured his neck while scoring a try away to Zebre earlier this month.

“He’s obviously been struggling with it for a while," Murray admitted.

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"He’ll go to see someone during the week. He trained today, done a lot of fitness work and we’re hoping he will be fit for next week, but at this stage we’ve no further update on that.”

Read more: Scrum-half crisis as Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan face fitness race

Read more: Shane Horgan: I didn’t want Ireland to win Grand Slam after being dropped by Declan Kidney

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