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Ireland issue Robbie Henshaw update ahead of Tonga

By PA
Robbie Henshaw of Ireland leaves the pitch with an injury during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and Fiji at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland expect Robbie Henshaw to be available for next weekend’s Rugby World Cup clash with Tonga as part of a potentially fully-fit squad.

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Andy Farrell’s side launched their Pool B campaign in commanding fashion on Saturday afternoon by dispatching Romania 82-8 in a 12-try rout.

Centre Henshaw was a late withdrawal from the bench due to a hamstring issue, resulting in a recall to the match day 23 for the initially overlooked Mack Hansen.

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Prop Dave Kilcoyne (hamstring), hooker Dan Sheehan, and back-rower Jack Conan (both foot) were also sidelined at Stade de Bordeaux.

Ireland appear to have come through their tournament curtain-raiser, which was played in sweltering heat, without any further fitness issues and are optimistic about their ranks being bolstered ahead of their next fixture.

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Defence coach Simon Easterby said: “I’d say we haven’t ruled anyone out for next week. We’ll certainly assess more people today and tomorrow.

“It’s usually the case that things are maybe flagged 24, 48 hours sometimes after a game as opposed to straight after the night of the game.

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“So as far as we are aware everyone came through pretty unscathed, so it was great in that respect in terms of getting players game time in the heat, the conditions.

“We’re hopeful that Robbie and others who haven’t taken part for whatever reason are available to us next week and that’s credit to the guys conditioning the boys and also the medics, the way that they’ve worked over the last few weeks in particular.

“At the moment we’re in pretty good shape.”

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Farrell’s men were forced to come from behind against Romania following the shock of conceding an early score to scrum-half Gabriel Rupanu.

Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony, Bundee Aki and Tadhg Beirne claimed two tries apiece in Ireland’s biggest World Cup win, while tournament debutants Jamison Gibson-Park, Hugo Keenan, Rob Herring and Joe McCarthy were also on the scoresheet.

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“It was a good start I guess, in terms of the 80 minutes,” said Easterby. “First up, any World Cup match you want to get off to a good start.

“We obviously didn’t quite get that start we wanted considering the early try but certainly as the game went on we grew into the game and I think the second-half performance was right up there.

“We have to take into account what we were up against and the conditions but we’re really pleased with the way we finished the game. Not quite as much the way we started.”

Following temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius on a baking-hot Bordeaux afternoon, Ireland’s other three group-stage fixtures will kick-off at 9pm local time.

The Six Nations champions travel to Nantes to take on Tonga before Paris appointments with South Africa and Scotland.

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