Leinster report positive news on Jonathan Sexton as Six Nations looms
It appears that Jonny Sexton won't miss the start of Ireland's Six Nations campaign.
It was feared that the out-half had suffered another head injury after he came-off in the opening minutes of Leinster's European Champions Cup defeat to Wasps at the Ricoh Arena, which had sparked concerns over his availability for the opening game against Wales.
However, the player is now settled into the Ireland training camp after Leinster head coach Leo Cullen revealed that the player passed a head injury assessment at the time.
"He clashed heads pretty early in the game, after about eight minutes," Cullen said this afternoon. "He went off and did his HIA (Head Injury Assessment) assessment and passed his questionnaire fine.
"He was ready to come back out but the docs just erred on the side of caution."
Wales coach Neil Jenkins feels Ireland would be affected should Sexton miss their RBS Six Nations opener in Dublin.
“In terms of the other 10s coming in they’ve got good players,” Wales kicking coach Jenkins said ahead of the February 7 clash at the Aviva Stadium.
“But I’ve no doubt it will affect them.
“Johnny’s a world-class player with his all-round ability and his all-round game.
“He’s very good defensively and troubles you no end with his kicking game, whether he goes to the corners, goes aerially or attack kicks.
“He puts you under pressure with ball in hand and his kicking game – and when he plays he’s a threat to any side.”
Wales have their own fitness concerns ahead of the Dublin opener with flanker Sam Warburton and utility back Liam Williams on their way back from respective ankle and foot injuries.
Skipper Warburton played for the first time since the end of November in the Cardiff Blues’ European Challenge Cup victory over Calvisano last Friday, while Williams has been sidelined since suffering a recurrence of a foot injury during the World Cup clash with Australia in October.
Both players could play for their regions this weekend, with Jenkins saying he expects Williams to figure for the Scarlets in their Guinness Pro12 trip to Connacht.
“Gats (Wales coach Warren Gatland) will have a discussion with the players and their regions but Liam needs game-time and Sam has stated he needs game-time,” Jenkins said.
“I would have thought Liam plays this week for the Scarlets at Connacht but the final decision will be down to the boss ’Gats’.
“We will have to see how Liam plays and whether he plays the full game.
“We will have to see how the game unfolds.”