Ireland back Murray and Sexton to face England

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 22:45

INJURY UPDATE: Ireland are confident key halfback duo Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton will both be fit to face England in Saturday's Six Nations climax in Dublin.

Flyhalf Sexton has passed a head injury assessment and been cleared of concussion after taking a blow during Ireland's 9-22 loss to Wales in Cardiff last Friday, with scrumhalf Murray overcoming a 'stinger' injury to his left shoulder in the same match.

Ireland, however, have brought in Leinster's Fergus McFadden after Ulster wing Tommy Bowe suffered a suspected broken leg at the Principality Stadium.  

"Johnny Sexton underwent a precautionary HIA at the weekend. Concussion has been ruled out and he's available for selection," Ireland team manager Paul Dean told reporters on Monday.

"Jonathan went through all the concussion tests, so he's completely clear.

Dean added: "Conor Murray sustained a stinger injury to his left shoulder. He's responded well to treatment and he's available for selection.

"A stinger injury is a curious injury, it's a numbness that happens on the pitch. You recover quite quickly, all going well."

Ireland, following defeats by Scotland and Wales this season, will be desperate to avoid losing all three of their Triple Crown matches this season.

England, who've already wrapped up the Six Nations title, have a second successive Grand Slam in their sights and will head to Dublin knowing a win on Saturday would see them set a new record of 19 successive Test wins by a 'tier one' or leading rugby union nation.  

Ireland ended New Zealand's 18-match winning streak with a stunning 40-29 success in Chicago in November under coach Joe Schmidt, whose tactics were called into question on Friday as the Irish repeatedly hammered away at the Welsh line with little to show for their efforts on the scoreboard.

But Ireland flanker Peter O'Mahony said the squad had no doubts about Schmidt's approach.

"Not at all. I've said it already but we really are close. Four months ago you go and beat the All Blacks, and it's a different press conference to what we're having now.

"So it's not like we've thrown everything out and have done something different. "We can beat anybody in the world on our day.

"So we just need to be a little bit more accurate and it's nearly there -- it's the smallest of margins."

Agence France-Presse

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