Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell has confirmed Johnny Sexton will be fit and ready play against Italy in the next round of the Guinness Six Nations.
The fly-half came off during the first half of Ireland’s victory over Scotland at BT Murrayfield in Round Two to undergo a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) and played no further part.
But Farrell revealed that the current World Player of the Year has had no concussive symptoms since the game and will be available for Joe Schmidt to pick in Rome next weekend.
Robbie Henshaw is also due to return to full training next week ahead of the clash against the Azzurri, but Garry Ringrose remains a doubt and will be monitored over the weekend.
“Johnny is fine,” said Farrell. “He trained fully and he will be ready to go. He is fine, he’s had no symptoms at all. He’s had no complaints throughout the week.
“The session was pretty intense and it was a good hit out for him. There as some contact, no too much, but there was enough in there. He would have been fine for this weekend.
“There are a few that we need to keep assessing.
“Robbie Henshaw will be fit to train next week, Garry Ringrose, we will just assess how he is progressing over the weekend. We will see where we are at next week with him.”
Iain Henderson and Kieran Marmion are also set to return to action for their provinces this weekend in more positive injury news for Ireland.
And Farrell, who will take over as Ireland head coach when Schmidt steps down after this year’s Rugby World Cup, hopes the returning players will provide fresh impetus to the squad.
“It’s great to be getting players back,” Farrell said. “It’s nice to get a boost throughout the Six Nations.
Ireland’s hopes of clinching back-to-back Grand Slams were ended by England in Round One but Farrell believes the Guinness Six Nations is still all to play for with three rounds to go.
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s about getting the job done for the next game and then about making sure we get the job done for the last two,” he added.
“I’ve been involved in six Championships now and you never know what’s going to happen at any stage. Even though you would like a bit of momentum, it’s not decided on the first week.
“There’s lots of permutations that can happen and we need to be well placed to put our best foot forward when that arises.”