Joe Schmidt ponders Mike Ross call-up for Paris trip as Sean O'Brien set to return
Mike Ross trained fully for Leinster yesterday and could link up with the Ireland squad today as Joe Schmidt ponders whether to parachute his first-choice tighthead prop into the Six Nations second round game against Paris after two months out with a significant hamstring injury
Cian Healy appears less likely to come into the Ireland equation until later in the tournament as he continues to return from knee surgery. He trained yesterday and is set to play for Leinster against Zebre on Friday night, with Ross certain to feature against the Italians if not called on for France.
Pitching Ross straight in against the excellent Eddy Ben Arous would represent a risk for Schmidt, but he has faith in the experienced tighthead’s ability to hit the ground running as he did against South Africa in November 2014.
“Cian Healy is good. He did some running on Sunday. He didn’t fully participate in training,” Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey said. “We’re hopeful he can increase the volume of that and participate in some scrummaging.
“Mike Ross did a full session yesterday and has no ill-effects from that. He’s back in the fold.”
Ireland will issue an injury update and squad bulletin this afternoon after their first training session since their opening-day draw against Wales.
Keith Earls is almost certain to miss the Stade de France trip as he recovers from concussion, with Simon Zebo likely to switch to the left wing if Rob Kearney can prove his fitness. Otherwise, the Corkman will remain at full-back with Dave Kearney coming on to the left wing.
Sean O’Brien is due to train this morning and should be fit for France, while all eyes will be on Johnny Sexton, who came off after hurting his neck during the second half against Wales.
France yesterday confirmed that Louis Picamoles is out of the Six Nations, with Loann Goujon called in as a replacement.