Ireland have been handed a boost ahead of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations with the news that Tadhg Furlong is back in full training.
The tighthead prop has been out of action since February 2020 because of back, hamstring and calf injuries, but could return to action in a fortnight’s time.
While he will not be fit to feature in this weekend’s inter-provincial clash between Leinster and Munster, he is approaching a return and could make Leinster’s game against the Scarlets the following week.
With Andy Farrell set to name his Ireland squad next week, Furlong’s return to fitness is welcome news.
Leinster assistant coach Robin McBryde said: “He’s close, he has taken a full part in units [training].
“He’s just ticking off a couple of boxes to go. The next couple of weeks, definitely, I’d be disappointed if we don’t see his name on the teamsheet.
“It would be great if he could [play against Scarlets] because that would allow him just to chuck his hat in the ring from a national perspective as well with the Six Nations around the corner.”
The clash between Leinster and Munster will offer a final opportunity for Ireland players to stake a claim for Farrell’s squad for the Championship.
“This week, in particular, is definitely going to be one to watch from an Irish perspective,” added McBryde.
“It doesn’t matter if you support either Munster or Leinster, it doesn’t make a difference, I think it’s going to be a great game.”
Ireland kick off their campaign away to Wales in Cardiff before taking on France in Round 2.