Joe Schmidt Gives Update On The Fitness Of Johnny Sexton & Sean O’Brien

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Ireland’s Six Nations opener is just 10 days away with doubts still hanging over the fitness of Johnny Sexton & Sean O’Brien.

Sexton was taken off during Leinster’s draw with Castres this past week, nursing a tight hamstring, the latest in a long list of injuries for the Ireland playmaker.

Sexton was granted an extended lay-off following his hamstring injury in Ireland’s loss to New Zealand in November, but it seems he is far from back to full fitness, despite the break. Schmidt despite this has named just Paddy Jackson in his squad as cover.

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O’Brien has missed Leinster’s last two Champions Cup games, also nursing a calf injury, and has suffered with a similarly frustrating spout of injuries in recent months. Schmidt famously dropped O’Brien for the win over New Zealand in Chicago, despite the player admitting he was fit and ready, due to fears he wasn’t up to match pace.

“Johnny took a bruised calf in to the game against Castres and it just tightened up,” said Schmidt.

“There’s not a lot of damage there, nothing’s showing up that’s overly significant.

“Johnny’s already starting back doing a little bit. We’d be confident he’ll be able to train next week and therefore be fully available to face Scotland.”

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In relation to O’Brien, Schmidt is also confident he will be ready, noting he will fully train next week.

“He’s slightly further ahead than Johnny,” Schmidt added.

“We’re confident he may train before the end of the week fully, but he should train fully next week.”

The Ireland boss also revealed that uncapped Rory Scannell will provide cover at outhalf, which is why he only went with Sexton and Jackson.

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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