Les Kiss has admitted the clock is ticking on Cian Healy’s battle for Rugby World Cup fitness.
Defence coach Kiss believes “each hour matters” for loosehead prop Healy as he fights to beat his neck injury ahead of Ireland naming their 31-man World Cup squad.
Healy is stepping up training on his protracted comeback from neck surgery in May, but Kiss remains unsure whether he will be fit for Wales’ Dublin visit on Saturday.
Ireland must submit their World Cup squad on Monday, with Andrew Trimble passed fit after a foot sprain but Marty Moore is struggling with a foot problem of his own.
“Cian is gradually being exposed to more and more rugby and he did a lot in the session today,” said Kiss.
“I did some personal work with him at the end of the session around the contact area so some positive results are coming through there.
“As has been the case all the way along he’ll get assessed this afternoon by the medics.
“Then we’ll think forward from there about where he is going.
“I’m not sure if we’d be able to say that’s a chance of playing (against Wales).
“To tell you the truth today we did a bit of extra work in the contact area so he will be assessed by the medics again at the end of the session.
“We want to give Cian as much time as possible.
“It’s funny because each hour matters for Cian at the moment and we’ve got people working on the rehab things.
“He did more in the session today which is promising but we need to get it from the medics on that one.”
Ireland launch their World Cup Pool D bid on Saturday, September 19 by facing Canada at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Kiss insisted Healy’s chances of World Cup selection do not simply rest on whether he is fit to face Wales at the Aviva Stadium this weekend.
“When it comes down to the decision on Sunday night we’ll think about that one,” said Kiss when asked how much bearing form would take on final selection.
“I don’t know if it’s about fairness or not, I think it’s about everything that’s been done.
“I know the people we have working with him are experts in their area and we’ll take a lot of feedback from Cian and we’ll involve him in that decision and I’m sure with the type of info we’ll gather from all the areas will be enough to inform us to make a decision.
“At this stage it’s every hour.”
Leinster tighthead prop Moore’s latest injury struggle could pave the way for Connacht’s Nathan White to sneak into Ireland’s final World Cup ranks.
Kiss has refused to rule Moore out of Saturday’s warm-up Test clash with Wales however, despite the 24-year-old still wearing a compression boot to help boost his recovery.
“Marty is in a boot still. It’s there to protect the joint,” said Kiss.
“He’ll train on Thursday and that will give him and us a good idea of where he is and that should be able to prove whether he is available on the weekend and that’s probably his important session.
“Andrew Trimble has come up really good, he trained fully so he’s fit to go.
“We know what Trimby has delivered in the past.
“It’s a tight position in the back three.”