Growing confidence Johnny Sexton will face Argentina

Another day closer and growing confidence that Johnny Sexton will be fit to face Argentina in Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final.

The Ireland fly-half stepped up his recovery from an adductor strain he suffered in last Sunday’s pool win over France.

The problem, at the top of Sexton’s right thigh, his kicking leg, is, according to the Ireland management, improving steadily with scrum coach Greg Feek saying yesterday: “Johnny did about 3.5 kilometres running, that’s a positive. We’re quietly confident, we’ll see how he goes on Friday.”

With the squad on a down day today, Sexton will have to step up his preparations for Sunday’s clash with Argentina during tomorrow’s full training session although now the Six Nations champions are into the knockout stages of the tournament, the usual caveat a player must train fully during the week before a match to be eligible for selection is being less strictly applied, Feek said.

Keith Earls sat out training in Cardiff yesterday, which was explained as load management on the wing/centre who started all four pool games in successive weeks.

“We’re going to see how he goes,” Feek said of Earls, “We’re looking after him a bit and it’s not too bad, we’ll see how he goes on Friday as well.

“He’s just a bit battered, that’s all. It’s not too bad.

“At this stage, you want to do the best to make sure everyone is fit and available.”

Sean O’Brien has continued to train despite the one-match ban he received on Tuesday night for striking France’s Pascal Pape as the management weigh whether to appeal the suspension.

O’Brien has 48 hours to trigger the appeal process from the moment he receives the written explanation of the independent judicial officer’s findings on his case.

“We’ll wait for the written information to come through, we’ll analyse that and see whether we’ll appeal or not,” Feek said.

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