Sexton will be fit says Schmidt

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:55
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INJURY UPDATE: Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is confident flyhalf Johnny Sexton will be fit in time to face Scotland in Six Nations opener.

The British and Irish Lions stand-off suffered a calf injury during Leinster's 24-24 European Champions Cup draw away to French side Castres on Friday.

But Schmidt is optimistic that Sexton will be able to train ahead of Ireland's match at Murrayfield on February 4.

"Johnny took a bruised calf into the game against Castres and it just tightened up," Schmidt told reporters at the Six Nations tournament launch in London on Wednesday.

"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," the New Zealander added.

He was also upbeat about the fitness of Sean O'Brien, with the Leinster back-row another player with a calf injury.

"He's slightly further ahead than Johnny," said Schmidt of O'Brien.

"We're confident he may train before the end of the week fully, but he should train fully next week."

Schmidt left out Bordeaux's Ian Madigan from his 40-man tournament squad following the fly-half's decision to play club rugby in France, and brought in Munster's uncapped midfielder Rory Scannell as cover for Sexton.

But he said former Leinster outside-half Madigan could come back into Ireland contention later this Six Nations.

"The first time I saw Rory play for Dolphin against Belvedere he had a fantastic game at 10," said Schmidt.

"There's a big difference between that and Murrayfield but he would be the guy who could cover there.

We've also got Paddy Jackson available obviously."

He added: "With Ian (Madigan), he could only have done those two first days (training) with us.

"You only get that three-day opportunity with the window. So it complicates that.

"Ian had an injury earlier in the season so he hasn't had a lot of rugby really.

"I've kept in touch with Ian. He would slot back in pretty seamlessly for us, so that's still something potentially that we could look at."

Agence France-Presse

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