Keith Earls an injury doubt for Ireland's Six Nations clash with England

Keith Earls will have one training session on Thursday to prove his fitness to face England 48 hours later having sat out preparations so far this week with a groin issue.

The Munster and Ireland wing came into the 2017 RBS 6 Nations with the problem but has started all four matches of the championship so far.

Earls did feel tightness in his groin after last Friday's defeat to Wales and sat out Monday and Tuesday's sessions but assistant coach Greg Feek said he would return to training on Thursday.

“Johnny (Sexton) and Conor (Murray) trained today, they were pretty good, so they got through it. Earlsy will train on Thursday. He just has still got a bit of tightness there and the same with Tommy O'Donnell, he's got a bit of a tight quad, bruise, so he'll be back on Thursday as well,” Feek said.

Head coach Joe Schmidt will name his matchday 23 after training on Thursday and usually overlooks players who have missed sessions prior to that but with a trusted senior player in the last week of the campaign, Earls will be given every opportunity to pass fit.

Feek suggested that the players who started last Friday's 22-9 defeat in Cardiff would be given the opportunity to make amends when back-to-back champions England come to Dublin on Saturday looking to complete a second consecutive Grand Slam.

“We’re disappointed (with the loss to Wales). And there’s an emotional effect afterwards, whether it’s physical or emotional fatigue, so the players certainly emptied the tank massively.

“There were errors, maybe compounded by some good Welsh defence and maybe also by ourselves just choosing the wrong option, passing where we weren’t supposed to or maybe not winning the possession we needed to.

“We’re all aware of that, we’re trying hard not to do that and sometimes with players and selection they can learn from that and we’ve got to back them. It (defeat) is not something we are going to change our philosophy on or who’s in there massively.”

KEYWORDS: six nations, ireland


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