Friday 18 October 2019

Irish duo pass HIA 2 while Johnny Sexton decision 'tactical' as Schmidt's men prepare for Japan test

Bundee Aki of Ireland leaves the pitch for a head injury assessment against Scotland
Bundee Aki of Ireland leaves the pitch for a head injury assessment against Scotland

Jonathan Bradley

IRELAND have said no player has yet been ruled out of taking on Japan on Saturday (8.15am Irish-time) after both Peter O'Mahony and Bundee Aki passed their HIA 2 following the win over Scotland.

Both failed HIA 1 and were removed in the first-half of the World Cup-opening victory, but will undertake HIA 3 later today which, if passed, would keep them in the frame for taking on the host nation despite only a six-day turnaround between the two pool games.

Josh van der Flier was given a few stitches to a cut and later suffered from cramp while Johnny Sexton took a bang to the thigh and handed goal-kicking duties to Conor Murray but Ireland management added that his substitution had been tactical.

Again, Keith Earls, Joey Carbery and Rob Kearney were described as fully fit, while "hopeful" was the word used to assess the chances of Robbie Henshaw resuming full training this week.

Ireland will move from Yokohama this afternoon, heading to Shizuoka by bullet train.

Saturday's game will throw up a different challenge and Cian Healy believes that last night's video review of the Scotland triumph revealed plenty the squad can still improve upon despite the emphatic nature of how they seized control of Pool A.

"It did feel like a long run-in so it's nice to have it started and started well thankfully," said the loosehead prop.

"Some of our plays came off. We did a lot of defending so we didn't have to go too deep into the play-book and didn't have to use too much of our set-piece stuff.

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"Open play was flowing nicely, people were running nice lines and defending well.

 "It's nice to see what we're doing in training come to fruition and everyone working off the same page." 

"We're happy with a good bit of it. We had a look over it last night and there's a lot to take from it but still a good few work-ons which is usually the case.

"It definitely gives us something this week to focus on."

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