Ireland are refusing to give up hope that Robbie Henshaw can shake off his hamstring injury and play a significant part in the World Cup.
Assistant coach Greg Feek admitted centre Henshaw is “very, very unlikely” to feature against Scotland in Yokohama on Sunday for the Pool A opener.
But the Ireland scrum coach insisted Henshaw’s early reaction to his hamstring issue allows team bosses to hold out hope he can recover to take part in the competition.
Ireland have opted not to release the full extent of Henshaw’s injury, but a team spokesman confirmed the 26-year-old will definitely not be returning home and is still part of the 31-man squad.
Henshaw suffered his hamstring problem in training on Saturday, leaving Ireland fretting over his status since.
Asked if Henshaw had been ruled out for the Scotland match, Feek said: “Well not really but you can read between the lines.
“Robbie’s looking very, very unlikely for this weekend obviously.
“But we’ve just got back from training and still sorting things out, but I think it’s reasonably positive in terms of what we saw.
He is unlikely to feature v @Scotlandteam
He will be monitored and managed by the medical staff over the rest of the week and will not be returning home. ?#shouldertoshoulder
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 16, 2019
“Some of these guys, day by day, week by week, they can improve dramatically as opposed to the average human. So we’ll just take it like that at the moment.
“It’s looking positive, so from here on in we’ll just see how it goes in the next few days and then maybe reassess in the not too distant future.”
Feek admitted Henshaw will be relieved by the positive news on his hamstring complaint, with Ireland still hoping he can shake off his blow quickly.
“He’s a good man, great to have around, his work ethic is incredible and you know he’s doing the work,” said Feek.
“To be at this stage now there’s probably a sense of relief.”
Feek also confirmed that Joey Carbery trained fully on Monday, leaving him well placed to feature against Scotland at the weekend.
Playmaker Carbery suffered an ankle ligament injury in Ireland’s opening World Cup warm-up match against Italy in Dublin on August 10.
The 23-year-old had faced a race against time to be ready for Ireland’s World Cup opener, but now seems to have pulled off that feat.
“Joey was running around today and trained, he looked pretty good,” said Feek.
“So we’re just all really happy for him more than anything.”
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