Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Ireland wait on Jones fitness

Felix Jones
Felix Jones

Ireland are sweating on the fitness of Felix Jones less than 48 hours before they name their World Cup squad.

Jones was driven from the pitch in a medical cart in the 71st minute of Saturday's 26-22 defeat by France at Aviva Stadium after falling awkwardly while catching a high ball. The Munster full-back, making his full Test debut, had played his way into contention for the 30-man party for New Zealand, which is named at lunchtime on Monday.

"Felix has had an x-ray which didn't show a broken bone, but he'll have a scan," said coach Declan Kidney. "Only once we know the results of that will we be able to asses it fully. We need to check for ligament damage."

Kidney was able to deliver a more definitive update on loosehead prop Cian Healy, who had to be helped from the pitch during in the 51st minute.

"Someone stood on Cian's foot 10 days ago in training and unfortunately someone trod on the same spot in the game," said Kidney. It's just something that needs a little bit of fresh air and time for the bruise to heal."

Ireland's preparations for the World Cup suffered a further setback with their third successive defeat. They made a bright start with Healy's try helping them establish an early 8-0 lead, but France amassed 26 unanswered points before a late Irish flurry gave the score respectability.

England complete the four-Test summer series when they visit Dublin next Saturday, a game Ireland must win if they are to restore confidence in time for New Zealand. Kidney, however, is content that the squad's preparations are on track.

"The pressure's the same for every game. We've tried to win each one and that's what we'll do next Saturday," he said.

"Three losses isn't what we want to have. We'd have liked to have won them all, we haven't hidden from that fact.

"Am I concerned? No not really. In terms of what we're doing and the way we're going about it, I believe we are going the right way."

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