Rugby World Cup: Jonathan Sexton up and running ahead of Argentina quarter-final showdown
Ireland seem set to roll the dice on Johnny Sexton's fitness ahead of their crucial World Cup quarter-final clash with Argentina at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday.
The star out-half came off with a groin injury after just 25 minutes of the Pool D decider against France last weekend but was able to complete running exercises in training yesterday.
While in the past Joe Schmidt has demanded all starters be on the paddock in the early stages of Test weeks, the head coach appears willing to give Sexton as long as possible to show he is ready to take on the Pumas as Ireland bid for a first ever semi-final.
Scrum coach Greg Feek said: "Johnny did about 3.5km running, that's a positive. We're quietly confident, we'll see how he goes on Friday."
Today will be a down day for the players and Schmidt will name his team after tomorrow's training session.
If the Leinster number 10 comes through that without a reaction, it seems likely he will be in the starting line-up with Ian Madigan back on the bench.
Keith Earls, who himself missed training yesterday after some heavy collisions, is backing Sexton to return on Sunday.
"He was out there which was a good thing," said the Munster flier who if fit would be expected to start at outside centre.
"I'm sure if Johnny has any issue he'll be doing everything possible but he looked fine today."