'There's a few niggles but the squad is in good health' - Rhys Ruddock says injury-hit Ireland still 'simmering'
Despite doubts over the fitness of Keith Earls and Rob Kearney for Ireland's tournament opener with Scotland on Sunday, along with the coaches' concern over forecast rain, flanker Rhys Ruddock insists the squad are ready to perform.
Although the IRFU played down fears over the health of two-thirds of Ireland's first-choice back-three and said they could return to training overnight or on Friday, the Irish Independent understands their participation is in jeopardy.
World Rugby dismissed reports that the Yokohama clash is in danger of being cancelled due to the weather, but both coaches are watching the forecast closely with heavy rain still predicted for Sunday.
With Robbie Henshaw out of the game, much of the focus has centred on injuries and the conditions, but Ruddock believes the squad are in rude health.
"There's been a huge level of excitement and maybe you guys have heard about a few niggles but the squad is in good health and spirits, we're just about over the jet lag now and training has been really sharp," he said.
"We've had two days of training where we've probably looked our best over the period and it's kind of building and simmering up to the game that we expected because even at the very start of the block, we really targeted this game.
"We know how good a side they are, the quality they have and how much they'll be targeting us as well."
Ruddock said Ireland would prepare for all eventualities when it comes to the conditions.
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"It (the weather) will definitely change tactics and we're going to have to prepare for all outcomes in terms of the weather," he added.
"We'll have a plan for both (good and bad weather). I don't think it changes the mindset or the excitement for the game for the group, but it definitely changes the game-plan."