Ireland wing Tommy Bowe is back on course to face Australia, having returned to training with the Irish squad ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Stadium showdown.
Bowe suffering a knock on his calf muscle in Saturday’s 40-9 win over Samoa and the bruising and soreness kept the Ulster and Lions star on the sidelines on Monday as the Ireland squad returned to training at Carton House.
“Tommy trained and all being good he’ll be fit to play,” Ireland defence coach Les Kiss said yesterday before reporting “no other issues” regarding injuries other than those to Ulster back rower Chris Henry (hamstring) and Munster wing Keith Earls (knee), both of whom were ruled out of the Australia match on Monday. “It always is good going when (players) are available earlier,” Kiss said. “A couple of guys sat out yesterday’s (training) session with a few bumps and bruises but that’s to be expected sometimes and it does give you the opportunity to run other guys in those positions.
“But the boys have been great with their recovery and their work and their rehab and the medics are pretty happy with our situation.”
The resumption of training for Bowe will not result in Luke Fitzgerald, called into the squad as cover, being sent back to Leinster, with Kiss saying all squad members were being considered for selection ahead of Thursday’s team announcement by head coach Joe Schmidt.
High on the Ireland management’s priority list will be to tighten their team’s defensive performance. Despite keeping Samoa tryless last weekend, Kiss was far from pleased with his players’ work without the ball and he said that had to change with the more dynamic Australians coming to Dublin showing signs of improvement in their 50-20 defeat over Italy on Saturday.
“From our perspective I know they’re not showing the winning record that any coach would prefer to have but I think they’re building to something nicely. We definitely need to be aware that they’re a sleeping animal but they’re waking up slowly but surely and we’ve got be careful. Our defence needs to step up. I was a bit disappointed in some areas of our defence, just being broken a bit too easy at times. We just need a stronger mindset about certain parts of our game and we’ve spoken about that. We certainly got some return at the tackle-breakdown area that we’d worked on. We turned some ball over and took advantage of some sloppy ball carried to ground by the Samoans. We got a bit of pay there but the Aussies are pretty quick. They accelerate into that space when the ball carrier goes down and we’re going to have to be smarter and dogged in that area.”
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