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Sexton ready for Italian job

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Fully-trained Sexton available for Ireland after shrugging off latest injury

Johnny Sexton has been declared fit for Ireland’s round three Six Nations assignment away to Italy on February 24.

Sexton lasted of 24 minutes of his country’s round two 22-13 win over Scotland last weekend. The playmaker was shaken by a number of early collisions and went on to fail a head injury assessment test after he was replaced during an abrasive first-half at Murrayfield.    

However, he has since recovered from that injury and assistant coach Andy Farrell has insisted the out-half is ready and available to travel to Rome next week.   

“Johnny is fine, he trained fully and he will be ready to go,” said Farrell following the completion of a mini-Ireland training camp in Dublin which ended with a public training session at the Aviva Stadium. “He is fine, he’s had no symptoms at all, no complaints throughout the week.”

Sexton’s departure against the Scots didn’t hamper Ireland’s effort to get their Six Nations title defence back on tracks following their opening weekend home loss to England. Replacement Joey Carbery competently stepped in to fill the void. 

He suffered an early mishap, as an intercepted pass soon led to a Scotland try. However, he quickly regained his composure to lead his team to a victory decorated by the substitute’s piece of individual brilliance on the halfway line when creating a second-half score for Keith Earls. 

(Continue reading below…)

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Farrell also hailed Iain Henderson’s return ahead of schedule from a finger injury. The lock wasn’t expected to be back in the running this early for Six Nations selection after he was hurt in Ulster’s mid-January Champions Cup win over Leicester. 

However, his reputation as a quick healer will again catapult him back into the Ireland frame provided he comes through his comeback game with Ulster unscathed on Friday night versus Ospreys in Bridgend. 

“It’s great to be getting players back; it’s nice to get a boost throughout the Six Nations,” said Farrell. “For fresh guys to come back in with fresh spirits will hopefully give everyone a boost.”

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Fully-trained Sexton available for Ireland after shrugging off latest injury