Ireland have refused to offer the injured Joey Carbery any guarantees over World Cup selection. The Munster fly-half faces a race against time to be fit for the World Cup opener against Scotland on September 22.
And Irish bosses insist Jack Carty and Ross Byrne could both yet push ahead of Carbery, who is nursing an ankle problem. Asked if Ireland would take an injured player to Japan in their final 31-man squad, skills coach Richie Murphy said: “We have left that quite open at the moment and we have conversations in and around the make-up of the squad.
“I’ve heard a lot of conversations around whether to bring three number nines or three number 10s and how that breaks down. We’ll make an assessment a little bit closer, we’re not making assessments at the moment. We’re just watching him, keeping a very close eye on how he’s progressing. At this moment, we’re very happy with where he’s at but whether there’s a spot for him or not will depend on other players.
“Opportunities will go to the likes of Jack (Carty) and Ross (Byrne) as well as Johnny (Sexton) getting game-time over the next few weeks. Joey is doing really, really well. Obviously, the time-frame around his injury has been well-stated. He’s recovering really well, he’s well into his recovery programme and, talking to him, he feels good and confident.
“He’s exactly where the medics would expect him to be at the moment. He’s definitely trying to get back for that first Scotland game, but it’s a case of how we manage that and also manage the squad. Because although he is very much online for that time-frame, we also have to have contingency plans in place so we’ll look at them through the next few weeks and get game-time for certain people.”
Exclusive – Update on Carbery's injury means Schmidt and Ireland facing a tough decision. https://t.co/OE88EZHfKi
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 12, 2019
Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls sat out training on Tuesday during their warm-weather camp in Portugal, but Ireland insist all three can contest selection to face England at Twickenham on Saturday. Ireland saw off Italy 29-10 in their opening World Cup warm-up match in Dublin, but face a serious hike in intensity against Eddie Jones’ England this weekend.
“This morning Robbie Henshaw and Johnny sat it out with a bit of soreness, Keith Earls also sat it out,” said Murphy. “There’s no real fears about them, it’s just about managing them and getting their work-load right for possibly involvement this week and, if not, the following week.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) August 20, 2019
“It’s a case of what we need out of these games. They are big Test matches in their own right, but we are building to something that is a bigger picture and it’s about getting the mix and the balance right of the getting the proper amount of work into these guys and game-time is going to be a key aspect over the next three weeks. We have no fears over those three guys.”
– Press Association
WATCH: Joe Schmidt speaks to the media following Ireland’s recent win over Italy
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