Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt isn’t willing to risk injury to first-choice centre Robbie Henshaw by playing him this weekend.
Today Schmidt announced the Ireland team to play Canada on Saturday and named Luke Fitzgerald at 12, with Henshaw absent from the matchday squad.
“Robbie arrived into training on Tuesday, he felt his hamstring tighten a little,” Schmidt explained.
“We got it scanned, there’s a little bit of blood there.”
Since last year's November series, Henshaw has combined with Jared Payne to make up Schmidt’s preferred centre partnership, but, with a long tournament ahead, the Kiwi wasn’t willing to take a chance on playing him.
“He’s ok to walk and jog around but he does feel that tightness when he’s accelerating,” Schmidt explained.
“Therefore it would be a real risk to push him ahead.”
The medical team expect Henshaw to be available for Ireland’s next match, against Romania on Sunday September 27.
“We’d be quietly confident that he should be ok by next Sunday,” Schmidt said.
“We’d like to think so anyway.”
The coach also discussed what Ireland had learned from the warm-up games, and said the team would have to put in an improved performance on Saturday.
“We don’t normally give as much ball back as we did.
“We committed 12 turnovers in the first half against England. That’s something we can’t afford to do with Canada.”