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Andrew Trimble should recover but Leinster duo Cian Healy and Mike Ross won't be risked

By Nick Purewal

Published 10/02/2016

On the ball: Richie Murphy is confident over Irish injuries
On the ball: Richie Murphy is confident over Irish injuries

Ireland are unlikely to call on Cian Healy and Mike Ross to shore up their scrum in Saturday's RBS Six Nations clash in France, according to assistant coach Richie Murphy.

Props Healy and Ross are poised to return this week after injuries but are now expected to feature in Leinster's PRO12 clash with Zebre on Friday night.

Keith Earls faces a battle to complete the head-injury return to play protocols in time to take on France in Paris, so Leinster flyer Fergus McFadden has joined Ireland's training squad as cover.

Flanker Tommy O'Donnell has returned to full training after completing his own head injury assessment (HIA), while Andrew Trimble, Simon Zebo and Jonathan Sexton all sat out training yesterday but should be ready to face France.

Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney also remain in line to return this weekend.

"Keith is going through HIA one and had passed that but he is in that process where he is working through those protocols," said Murphy of Munster wing Earls, who suffered a suspected concussion in Ireland's 16-16 draw with Wales.

"He feels pretty good himself but a six-day turnaround - we will just have to assess that later in the week. We are squeezed for time with the six-day turnaround but no one is out yet.

"We will be picking the best team to go to war with France at the weekend."

While Earls remains Ireland's chief injury concern for Saturday's Paris trip, Leinster duo O'Brien and Kearney should now beat their hamstring problems.

Flanker O'Brien is now back in full training, while Kearney took some part and is in line to train without restriction tomorrow.

Ulsterman Trimble suffered a shoulder knock against Wales, while full-back Zebo picked up a minor knee problem and fly-half Sexton received a heavy blow to his shoulder.

Ireland's assistant coach Murphy believes all three will train tomorrow without issue and prove their fitness.

"Sean O'Brien trained fully," said Murphy. "Rob Kearney took a part in training and is being assessed by the medical team.

"He should train fully on Thursday. Andrew Trimble, Simon Zebo and Jonathan Sexton all sat out training but are expected to train on Thursday.

"Sexton's shoulder area is a little bit stiff and sore."

Ireland struggled at the scrum against Wales and are intent on ironing out some of those set-piece kinks against the French.

Ross' return was viewed as a potential boost, but the veteran Leinster star is now tipped to stay with his province.

In the absence of Marty Moore, ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring strain, Nathan White and Tadhg Furlong look set to hold down the tighthead side of the scrum.

Ross has beaten a hamstring issue while Healy is on the cusp of a return after knee trouble.

Belfast Telegraph

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