Garry Ringrose could be pressed into a third successive World Cup start this Thursday after Ireland’s midfield stocks were reduced by a concussion for Chris Farrell.
Farrell was withdrawn in the second half of Saturday’s 19-12 defeat to Japan with assistant coach Simon Easterby revealing the Munster back had experienced “a confirmed concussion”.
With return-to-play protocols stipulating a mandatory minimum six-day testing process, Farrell will not be able to face Russia in Kobe on Thursday.
Easterby said a decision on centre Robbie Henshaw’s availability would follow Ireland’s training session tomorrow. Henshaw suffered a hamstring injury during Ireland’s first training session in Japan 16 days ago.
“Robbie ran really well yesterday but we’ll obviously have to take a view on his selection when we get back to training,” Easterby said yesterday. “But he’s doing really well, and really pleased with his progress.
If Henshaw does pass fit he would most likely partner Bundee Aki in the Ireland midfield to face Russia.
Aki was rested for the Japan game but if Henshaw was unavailable, Ringrose could be asked to start his third pool game in succession having played the full 80 minutes against both Scotland and Japan.
Likely to make his first start of the 2019 tournament against Russia is Jordi Murphy, who arrived in Japan yesterday as a replacement for fractured foot victim Jack Conan and was welcomed with a ringing endorsement from forwards coach Easterby. While Conan was “a real loss to the group”, Easterby added: “We are very fortunate Jordi Murphy will be joining us. He gives us great coverage, he’s been in the squad for a number of years and he has played in some big games. He can cover every position in the back row, which obviously gives us a good deal of flexibility with things starting to ramp up a little bit. He’ll slot straight in this week.”