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Healy: 'We'll breach dark spells'

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Healy: 'Ireland can breach the dark spells in Japan'

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Cian Healy has backed Ireland to keep breaching the mental “dark spells” that can yield more World Cup progress.

James Ryan, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong and Andrew Conway all crossed as Ireland blitzed Scotland 27-3 for a bonus-point victory in Yokohama on Sunday.

Ireland squeezed the Scots up front then ran them ragged out wide to provide the perfect start to Pool A.

Now Joe Schmidt’s men will roll on to face hosts Japan in Shizuoka on Saturday, with prop Healy expecting a frenetic pace against the Brave Blossoms.

Leinster star Healy believes Ireland’s relentless physical preparation has left the squad mentally robust enough to push into ever-increasing limits.

Asked how challenging the humidity had been against Scotland, Healy said: “It felt tough. It was hard to breathe, but we just have to back all the work that they have done with us, and go through the dark spots where you’re sucking air.

“It was good, we played the game in the right positions and in the right parts of the field for the most part, backed our fitness, came through the dark spells and that’s when we actually got to play a bit of our game and that’s when we went harder into that zone.

“It just takes your breath in a different way, it’s not like playing in the sun or anything like that.

“Your breath goes, but you can get it back quickly, if there’s a break in play you can get regular pretty quick.

“But those extended periods of play do put a lot of pressure on the lungs, and we’ve done a lot of extended periods of training.

“So it’s in the head then, it’s not a shock, we’ve been that to place already so it’s just a continuous reminder that it’s all good, just keep going through it and get to those spots.”

Ireland were handed a boost today with the news that Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki are “on track” to be fit to face Japan, who thumped Russia 30-10 in Tokyo on Friday nigh.

Flanker O’Mahony and centre Aki were both forced out of the win over Scotland after Head Injury Assessments (HIAs).

Head coach Joe Schmidt lamented Ireland’s six-day turnaround from the Scotland clash to the Japan encounter, given O’Mahony and Aki could need the same amount of days to complete the head injury return-to-play protocols.

A spokesman has now confirmed the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) hopes that both O’Mahony and Aki will be ready and available to face the tournament hosts on Saturday.

“Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki completed HIA two post game and will complete HIA three today. That will be this afternoon, that’s on track,” said an IRFU spokesman.

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“If you pass two and pass three, you don’t go into return to play protocols. So nobody’s ruled out from the Scotland game.

“Josh Van Der Flier had a cut over the eye, and had a couple of stitches but is fine, he just had a bit of cramp towards the end.

“Johnny Sexton suffered a bang on his thigh after 20 minutes, and had an awareness of it, but he was removed tactically. Conor Murray was removed tactically too.

“Tadhg Furlong received running repairs on field and was later removed tactically.

“Rob Kearney, Joey Carbery and Keith Earls are all fully fit and will train fully this week.”

Robbie Henshaw remains unlikely to be fit, as he continues to fight back from a hamstring problem.

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Healy: 'Ireland can breach the dark spells in Japan'