By Simon LewisRugby and Golf Correspondent
Ireland full-back Rob Kearney remains a doubt for Sunday’s Pool D clash with Italy as he waits on scan results for a possible gluteal strain.
Kearney came off the bench against Romania at Wembley on Sunday and scored a try four minutes later but injured himself in the process, jarring his glute and hip after he hit the turf knee first.
Yesterday as the Ireland squad prepared to leave their Wembley hotel and head to Guildford, where they will resume training today ahead of this weekend’s trip to the Olympic Stadium, Ireland team manager MickKearney said of his namesake: “Rob may have suffered a gluteal strain and will have a scan in Guildford later today.
“We’re really going to have to wait and see what the results of the scan are like later today, so I’d say it could be 24 to 48 hours before we have a definitive view on whether he’ll be available at the weekend or not.”
But if he were to be ruled out this weekend, wing Tommy Bowe backed Simon Zebo to continue his good form in the position having been a creative force in the number 15 shirt against Romania.
“Absolutely. I think Simon is pushing Rob hard for his place there at full-back. He’s a very exciting player, showed that he is capable of doing the basics very well as well as being able to light it up,” Bowe said.
Zebo is expected to return to the training camp today having been allowed 24 hours compassionate leave following the death of his grandfather.
Ireland should otherwise be fully fit ahead of Thursday’s team selection meeting with Keith Earls, man of the match against the Romanians, expected to complete the mandated three-stage return to play protocols today after passing his Head Injury Assessment at Wembley on Sunday.
Flanker Jordi Murphy was the only other concern with a dead leg but the back rower is expected to be fine, as will centre Robbie Henshaw, who has missed the first two games of the campaign with a hamstring injury.
“Robbie is available for selection this weekend,” the team manager added.
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