Ireland to monitor fitness of forwards trio12/03/2012 - 16:03:17
Seán O’Brien, Rory Best and Donnacha Ryan represent Ireland’s three main injury concerns ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day meeting with England at Twickenham (5pm).
Stand-in captain Best picked up a rib injury during Saturday’s 32-14 victory over Scotland and was replaced by Seán Cronin early in the second half.
Meanwhile Donnacha Ryan sustained a shoulder injury during his man of the match display in his first competitive start for Ireland. Both Best and Ryan are expected to recover in time for Saturday’s game.
A foot infection ruled O’Brien out of the Scotland clash, handing Munster favourite Peter O’Mahony his first Irish start.
Irish team manager Michael Kearney revealed that the Tullow man has been discharged from hospital and should be in contention to make the squad for the weekend.
"He (O'Brien) was in hospital from Monday right through until the weekend and probably lost a couple of kilos of weight. But he is in good form,” Kearney said.
“The medical staff will obviously monitor him during the week and certainly would be pretty confident he will be available for selection.
"He is training today and that is obviously a very good sign. The infection has cleared up which is obviously good as well and he is not on any antibiotics or anything like that.
“We are pretty sure he will be available for selection."
The postponement of Ireland’s game against France on February 11 left Declan Kidney’s men with four consecutive games in the final four weeks of the tournament.
With Paul O’Connell and Conor Murray already ruled out of the English game and three more on the injury list, Kearney admitted that the hectic schedule has taken a toll on the players.
"Test rugby is an extremely physically demanding game. It is tough, but we have been dealt those cards and we have to manage them as best we can.
“It is not ideal and we would love to have got the week break that we were due and I think that would have made it slightly easier.
"But getting the win on Saturday was hugely helpful in terms of the guys' form and general well-being and we will go out and give it our best shot against England on Saturday.
"They are professional players and to a large extent they are used to playing week in, week out. “
Defeat to Wales in the opening Round followed by a draw against France in Paris has ruled Ireland out as championship contenders but they will be eyeing a victory against the English to claim second spot overall.
England will fancy their chances of overturning their visitors on Saturday after registering an impressive 24-22 win over France yesterday.
Kearney believes that despite their tired bodies and the fact that they cannot win the Six Nations the Irish players will have plenty of motivation at kickoff time on Saturday.
“I don't think there will be any issue from the mental point of view with getting them up to play against England at Twickenham on St Patrick's Day.
"It is a really exciting challenge for them and I have no doubt that they will be well up for it both mentally and physically come the weekend."