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Joe Schmidt gives injury update as stars sit-out open session

Update 2.30pm: Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson are on track to return to the Ireland squad in time for the next leg of the side's Grand Slam bid, writes Brendan O'Brien.

Both forwards missed out on last weekend’s 37-27 Six Nations defeat of Wales through injury but head coach Joe Schmidt was upbeat in his assessment of the pair’s chances of facing Scotland in Dublin next Saturday week.

The pair were at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, where just over 20 of Schmidt’s players and Noel McNamara’s U20s were put through their paces in front of a few hundred spectators, but they took no active part on the field.

Rob Kearney and Bundee Aki. Pic: INPHO/Bryan Keane

The plan for Furlong and Henderson now is that they bank some modified training next Monday and then full sessions on the Tuesday and Thursday. Schmidt selects his side on the Tuesday of a Saturday game so that day’s markers will be crucial.

“What pulling them out of last weekend meant for us, particularly Iain who was very close to being available and could have played, is we decided to go backwards rather than forwards and take our time a little bit more with that recovery process.”

There was a scare for Chris Farrell at the open day with the Munster centre – man of the match when slotting into the 13 jersey in place of the injured Robbie Henshaw against Wales – went down in some pain during the hit out.

“Yeah, he jumped back into the huddle and was described as Lazarus by the lads,” Schmidt joked.

“He just got his foot caught and twisted and fell and then got a bit of a fright. He certainly was jogging around. I’ve just come from chatting to him and he says he is absolutely fine. We don’t suspect that there’s any issue there.”

Among the senior players not involved in this latest session were half-backs Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray. The former was absent entirely from proceedings while the Munster nine did some shuttle runs separate to the rest of the players.

“Conor ran really well today. Johnny was doing some conditioning. One of his favourite things. They both got through their work really well. It’s one of those weeks where you can be a little bit varied in how you deliver what needs to be done by different players.

“One of the really good things about this week is that it allows guys like Joey Carbery and Kieran Marmion to get in and boss the team because in a match week by the time you have done three trainings on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday there’s not that many windows where the younger players can get in and take charge of the team.”

Rob Kearney and Bundee Aki were others to assume a watching brief.

Garry Ringrose made a return from ankle surgery for Leinster against Southern Kings last Friday but he was one of those wearing Ireland clobber as he trained under Schmidt’s watchful eye.

Leinster face Scarlets in Wales this Friday and it was put to Schmidt whether the centre would be better off staying with his own squad or availing of some more game time with the province before the Scotland game.

“He will certainly be in the squad, (but) it's likely that he may still play with Leinster. I'll be talking with Leo (Cullen) later today. He may well play with Leinster just to get another game under his belt away to Scarlets this weekend.

“But he will be in the wider (Ireland) squad because he would have been selected in the squad initially anyway. It's great to have him back in there. I thought he was really sharp in training today and he was good against the Kings, so he's hit the ground running.

“He's a smart player as well as a really good athlete.”



Original story (2.04pm): Ireland coach Joe Schmidt says Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson should train next week.

The pair missed Saturday's Six Nations win over Wales due to hamstring injuries and didn't participate in this morning's open session at the Aviva Stadium.

Rob Kearney and Bundee Aki also sat out the session along with Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, who were given some time off having picked up knocks against Wales.

Johnny Sexton meets supporters at an Ireland rugby open training session at the Aviva Stadium. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Chris Farrell had an injury scare while training on the Lansdowne Road pitch.

The Munster centre was able to get back on his feet and Schmidt says he should be fine for the upcoming game against Scotland.

21-year-old Munster centre Sam Arnold was among those in action with Schmidt's squad on the Lansdowne Road pitch.

Kerry lock Ultan Dillane has been released from international duty , though, to travel to South Africa with the Connacht squad for Saturday's Pro 14 match against the Cheetahs.

- Digital desk