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Rugby World Cup: Ireland's Cian Healy set for first run-out, reveals Simon Easterby

Simon Easterby's cards are so tight to his chest there must be hearts and clubs imprinted on his skin.

As an emissary for Joe Schmidt, his remit during a 10-minute press briefing is to give away as little as possible while talking up the opposition wherever he can.

We learn little of the Ireland management's intentions for the coming week, but there are titbits to build on. Nothing nutritious, but a little food for thought.

Take Cian Healy's involvement. Even Easterby couldn't avoid conceding that the Clontarf native would probably feature at some stage against Canada at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday having come through training unscathed at Carton House yesterday.

No matter what way you look at it, with Healy one of two looseheads in the squad, he appears nailed on to play at some point this weekend - especially after missing all of Ireland's warm-up games.

It is likely that his return will come off the bench, with the forwards coach conceding that his minutes on the pitch must be monitored closely.

"He's taken part in full training this week and he looks in good shape," Easterby said.

"Clearly, not having had any game-time is something that we're aware of and we have to manage his minutes probably over the first couple of rounds, but we're really positive about where he is."

The coaches must also decide how to respond to Ulsterman Iain Henderson's barn-storming performances.

Belfast Telegraph

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