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Joey Carbery passed fit as Iain Henderson the only doubt for Ireland’s Six Nations opener with Wales


Iain Henderson is a doubt for Ireland's opening Six Nations game against Wales (INPHO/Bryan Keane)

Iain Henderson is a doubt for Ireland's opening Six Nations game against Wales (INPHO/Bryan Keane)

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Iain Henderson is a doubt for Ireland's opening Six Nations game against Wales (INPHO/Bryan Keane)

Joey Carbery has been passed fit for Ireland's Six Nations opener against Wales on Saturday week.

The out-half fractured his elbow during Munster's Champions Cup win over Wasps last month, but he has made a swift recovery from surgery to hand Ireland a major boost.

Carbery (26) will travel to Portugal with the Ireland squad this week, as he has been given the green light to return to full-contact training.

The news was welcomed by Andy Farrell, who will face a selection dilemma about who plays back-up to captain Johnny Sexton next week – Carbery or Jack Carty, who has put a fine run of form together with Connacht.

"Joey has been keeping fighting fit from week two after his injury to his elbow, so he's fit as a fiddle,” Farrell said.

“He has been doing all the ball skills, etc, constantly and the only thing he has had to wait for is to get the all-clear to get back into contact and he's had that now so it's all systems go."

Carty will hope to play for Ireland for the first time since Farrell took over as Ireland coach, as the Connacht out-half's last cap came during the 2019 World Cup.

Farrell has been impressed with Carty's form this season.

“He's done very well, certainly this season,” the Ireland boss enthused.

“Obviously Connacht are playing really well as a team. I think what's helped Jack along the way as well is the captaincy, the ownership of the captaincy has been new to him, and I think some people sink or swim with that responsibility.

“It has certainly helped Jack as far as his leadership of the team is concerned. And the way that they want to play, I have been super impressed always by his game understanding etc.

“But there are other parts of his game that have really come on – his attacking game and his ability to play at the line and play square and be more connected has been very impressive.”

Iain Henderson is a doubt for the Wales game due to the ankle issue that has hampered the Ulster lock in recent weeks.

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Although Henderson (29) has not yet been ruled out of the opener at the Aviva Stadium, he is not expected to train this week.

"To sum it up, we expect everyone bar Iain Henderson to be training fully with us by the end of the week. Iain Henderson, that's not to say he's out of the Wales game yet, we'll take it day-by-day and see how we go,” Farrell explained.

James Lowe is facing a "few weeks" on the sidelines with the hamstring injury he picked up in Leinster training last week.

The winger (29) had rediscovered his form last November, and as such, his absence will be felt by Ireland.

"He's gutted but he will be doing everything he possibly can to get fit and we'll assess it from there,” Farrell added.

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