Ireland’s World Cup squad checked into St George’s Park yesterday with having reported a clean bill of health and the prospect of welcoming Robbie Henshaw back to training ahead of next Sunday’s Pool D clash with Romania.
Following Saturday’s opening 50-7 win over Canada in Cardiff, Joe Schmidt’s squad finally reached England, travelling to Burton On Trent for a five-day training camp at the England football team base in Derbyshire.
They arrived with Japan’s giant-killing victory over South Africa still occupying minds as well as headlines and an appreciation that having avoided one banana skin in their meeting with Canada, another one may lie in wait at Wembley next weekend.
The Irish players caught the last 25 minutes of Japan’s epic result against the two-time champion Springboks following their seven-try rout of Canada and man of the match Johnny Sexton said the result should be a warning for all the sides facing so-called minnows.
“It was great, and it made our performance and our result a lot better, seeing a team like Japan beating South Africa.
“We obviously could have been on the end of something similar a couple of hours earlier.
“Our game was really good and we got the result we deserved, but we maybe saw the flip side of what can happen if you maybe take your eye off the ball and the gap is narrowing.”
Any chance of complacency setting in have been diminished by Japan’s performance and Sexton added: “It’s given the sides that are the so-called minnows a boost to see Japan do that.
“You saw Uruguay do that against Wales, they put it to them for the first 20 minutes and made life difficult for them.
“Argentina were obviously making life tough for New Zealand too.It gives everyone a boost to know anything can happen. And it’s given us an alarm call, I suppose.”
Ireland manager Mick Kearney delivered an encouraging update both on those who featured against Canada and also on centre Henshaw, who was unavailable for the Millennium Stadium opener due to tightness in his hamstring.
“Thankfully in relation to yesterday, apart from the normal bumps and bruises associated with Test rugby, we’ve got a clean bill of health which is good news,” Kearney said.
“Robbie is progressing very well through his rehab and the expectation is that he’d be available for selection for the Romania game on Sunday... the expectation would be that he would train this week.”
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