Ireland are hoping to have Rob Kearney fit and ready to go for their Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland on Sunday, despite an injury scare over the veteran full-back.
Reports from the squad’s training session on Monday were that Kearney, 33, sustained a calf problem, adding to backline selection issues with centre Robbie Henshaw almost certain to miss the Pool A clash with Six Nations rivals Scotland in Yokohama at the weekend due to a hamstring injury.
A Tuesday morning injury update from Ireland squad communications manager David O Siochain, though, suggested Kearney’s injury was not as bad as first feared.
"There was a bit of a flurry last night about Rob Kearney. He's got a bit of tightness in his calf. That's going to be managed today (Tuesday), there's no training today, it's a down day and it's hoped that he will be out running on Wednesday so we'll be able to update again on Wednesday how he's going."
O Siochain added: "The plan is hopefully that he'll do a bit of running, that it will ease up and if not Wednesday, he'll have a run on Friday.”
Asked if Kearney had been ruled out for Sunday’s pivotal pool encounter, the Ireland spokesman said: “No, no.”
Kearney’s availability to face Scotland would be a massive boost given his impressive performance in the home win over Wales on September 7 and the likelihood of Henshaw being absent from the Ireland midfield.
There was cautious optimism, though, that Henshaw would be available for Ireland’s second pool game against hosts Japan in Shizuoka on the following Saturday, September 28. Fly-half Joey Carbery began training fully on Monday following his August 10 ankle injury sustained during the win over Italy and wing Keith Earls is on track to resume training on Wednesday, 11 days after a knee problem cut short his seasonal debut against Wales in Dublin.
"Robbie Henshaw, not likely to play at the weekend, hopeful that beyond that he'll be back up and running, running into Japan week,” O Siochain said.
"Keith ran on Monday. He did some running yesterday, Joey trained fully yesterday and that's it, everyone else is good to go.”