Kear­ney’s fit for key role in big Slam bid

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Rob Kear­ney is ex­pected to be fit for Ire­land’s NatWest 6 Na­tions Grand Slam de­cider with Eng­land at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day, de­spite nurs­ing an an­kle is­sue.

Le­in­ster star Kear­ney sat out train­ing yes­ter­day, but as­sis­tant coach Richie Mur­phy in­sisted the 85cap full-back was only held back as a pre­cau­tion.

Skills coach Mur­phy also con­firmed that Johnny Sex­ton is now fully over a gluteal mus­cle in­jury, which ham­pered his goal­kick­ing in the wins over Wales and Scot­land.

Ire­land will chase just a third-ever Grand Slam this week­end, hav­ing sealed a third Six Na­tions ti­tle in five years with Satur­day’s 28-8 vic­tory over Scot­land.

“Rob’s fine, it’s just a case of man­ag­ing his load,” said Mur­phy, of 31-year-old Kear­ney, who was ic­ing his foot at Ire­land’s Tues­day train­ing ses­sion.

“He picked up a cou­ple of bangs in the Scot­land vic­tory, so we’re just eas­ing him back into the week. He’s per­fectly fine.

“He just got caught on his an­kle, but he’s fine.

“Again, the medics have looked at him, they are very happy with where he’s at.”

Mur­phy main­tained that prop Cian Healy is fit af­ter a neck prob­lem picked up against Scot­land, with Ire­land re­ject­ing any no­tion of the front-rower suf­fer­ing a head in­jury. “He’s fully fit, he trained fully,” said Mur­phy, re­it­er­at­ing Ire­land’s stance that loose­head prop Healy had not suf­fered a head in­jury at the week­end.

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