Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki are “on track” to be fit to face Japan in Ireland’s second World Cup match.
Flanker O’Mahony and centre Aki were both forced out of Sunday’s comprehensive 27-3 win over Scotland after Head Injury Assessments (HIAs).
Head coach Joe Schmidt lamented Ireland’s six-day turnaround from the Scotland clash to the Japan encounter, given O’Mahony and Aki could need the same amount of days to complete the head injury return-to-play protocols.
A spokesman has now confirmed the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) hopes that both O’Mahony and Aki will be ready and available to face the tournament hosts on Saturday.
“Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki completed HIA two post game and will complete HIA three today. That will be this afternoon, that’s on track,” said an IRFU spokesman.
“If you pass two and pass three, you don’t go into return to play protocols. So nobody’s ruled out from the Scotland game.
“Josh Van Der Flier had a cut over the eye, and had a couple of stitches but is fine, he just had a bit of cramp towards the end.
“Johnny Sexton suffered a bang on his thigh after 20 minutes, and had an awareness of it, but he was removed tactically. Conor Murray was removed tactically too.
“Tadhg Furlong received running repairs on field and was later removed tactically.
“Rob Kearney, Joey Carbery and Keith Earls are all fully fit and will train fully this week.”
Robbie Henshaw remains unlikely to be fit to take on Japan, as he continues to fight back from a hamstring problem.
Ireland are refusing to give up on the British and Irish Lions centre though, allowing the 26-year-old to keep pressing forward with his rehabilitation.
“Robbie Henshaw is running well and his rehab is accelerating, so we are pretty hopeful on him as well,” said an IRFU spokesman.
“We’re hopeful he’ll be back into more organised training this week.”