Thursday 22 March 2018

Jared Payne injury doubt for Twickenham showdown

Jared Payne (SPORTSFILE)
Jared Payne (SPORTSFILE)

Ruaidhri O’Connor

Jared Payne is Ireland’s main injury doubt ahead of Saturday’s visit to Twickenham to face Eddie Jones’ England.

The New Zealand-born centre is recuperating from a hamstring injury and will sit out training at Carton House today, before returning to the field of play tomorrow morning.

Manager Mick Kearney described his status as “wait and see”, but he was far more positive on the outlook for Johnny Sexton who is set to train today after overcoming the neck injury he suffered against Wales and France and recovering from rolling his ankle in Mullingar last Friday.

Simon Zebo is also available after recuperating from the knee problem he endured against Wales, while Keith Earls is completely over his concussion from the same game.

Kearney said Mike Ross and Cian Healy are ready to face England having been called up to the squad.

Both Leinster props are set to come into the match-day 23, with Ross likely to be involved from the start and Healy expected to be named as back-up to Jack McGrath with James Cronin out of the squad.

Ireland will train this afternoon and have a full session tomorrow morning before Schmidt names his side on Thursday lunch-time.

And scrum-half Conor Murray is confident that Irish minds will be focused on the task at hand at Twickenham. “It’s a great stadium,” Murray said. “The bus ride in is amazing and great buzz. England at home are a strong unit, we lost 13-10 the last time and a tough test match. We know we can go there and push them close and that’s how we prepare this week.

“From my experience it’s going to be a huge task, we’re going to have to play really well. You have to do your homework, train well and put in the hard work. There’s more hype, we feel that to and we have to prepare accordingly.”

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