By Barry Coughlan
MARCUS HORAN is ready for another Six Nations battle against Scotland on Saturday week.
Horan will train this week after recovering from a neck injury sustained in the victory over Wales at Lansdowne Road on Sunday.
Yesterday, he revealed his departure from the pitch on a stretcher was based solely on medical advice.
But Horan is grateful to the medical personnel.
"I felt a crunch, possibly a crack, when I came into contact with a Welsh player on the ground. I told the medics and they felt the safest thing to do was to take me off the pitch.
"Actually, I felt fine, but there was a bit of doubt about whether some damage was done to my neck. In those circumstances, it's good to know everything was done right."
Horan yesterday admitted to feeling stiff and sore, but put that down to the intensity of the game.
"If I hadn't been injured, I reckon I would feel exactly the same."
Reflecting on Ireland's 31-5 win, he believes Ireland deserved every point, even though he didn't see the team score some of them.
"I think it was a deserved win. We were under pressure early in the game but defended well until Wales got a lucky bounce and that opening try. We struggled in that first quarter because we didn't have much possession and we didn't put enough phases together.
"Still, under difficult circumstances, we rallied well and took the game to Wales in the second half. The conditions were difficult but I think we handled that better than Wales."
Horan reckons Ireland will have their work cut out to achieve a third Six Nations win.
"Scotland will have nothing to fear after those two huge victories. We now know more of what they are capable of, what type of game they are likely to play and we should be well prepared."
Horan would be willing to play in another important game for Munster this coming weekend, but that's not likely to happen.
Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan will keep his star players under wraps as Munster take on Ulster at Ravenhill in the Celtic League battle and when Leinster meet Connacht at Donnybrook on Sunday.
Leaders Munster appear to have more to lose than their Dublin 4 rivals who should be good enough, even without their best players, against Connacht.
O'Sullivan has, apparently, made it clear that none of the front-line players will be available for their provinces next week in advance of the Scottish game. That will rule out Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O'Callaghan, Denis Leamy and David Wallace from the Munster pack.
Peter Stringer and Ronan O'Gara will also be unavailable.
The O'Sullivan edict should mean that Andrew Trimble cannot play for Ulster, but overlooked international Tommy Bowe will be available as well as Irish substitutes David Humphreys and Rory and Simon Best.
The sole Munster boost from the international squad should come in the form of Mick O'Driscoll's availability.
Munster's player of the season O'Driscoll came on as a late substitute to win his fourth cap on Sunday and he came within inches of glory when stopped in his bid to score a try.