Saturday 17 March 2018

Andrew Conway ruled out of Scotland clash but better news for Johnny Sexton, Sean O’Brien and Keith Earls

Munster's Andrew Conway
Munster's Andrew Conway
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Andrew Conway is out of the Six Nations opener against Scotland but otherwise Ireland are hopeful of having the rest of their squad available for the Murrayfield clash.

Johnny Sexton, Sean O’Brien and Keith Earls are all due to train fully in the next 24 hours in their bid to prove their fitness for the first game of an eagerly anticipated campaign.

Sexton suffered a “bruised calf” in Leinster’s draw against Castres two weeks ago and took a limited part in training last week. New Ireland manager Paul Dean said he would return to full training tomorrow, traditionally the key session in an international week under Joe Schmidt.

"I think everything is fine (with Sexton)," Dean said. "We're being very positive about it, hopefully he'll train properly and be fit and ready. He’s very positive as he always is.

"Anyone who looks further than Scotland not being realistic, they are really really good and we’re going to have hands full.

"Preparations going well, think we’ll be ready. Hopefully everybody will be ready, think we’re going to be at our best."

O’Brien is coming back from a calf injury and is due to train today, while Earls suffered a rib injury in the lead-up to Munster’s win over Racing 92 and while his training load was managed last week he will train fully this week according to Dean.

Conway, however, is out of the opening game and has not been replaced in the squad as preparations step up for a difficult opening game in Edinburgh.

“Scotland have improved greatly, they’re not the one-off team they used to be. Their club sides are going well, particularly Glasgow,” Rob Kearney said.

“They look confident, they’ve progressed well over the last six months and they’ll be confident. It’s a dangerous combination.”

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