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Six Nations: Ireland let Paddy Jackson sweat as Andrew Trimble returns to training

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster joint-captain Andrew Trimble was back in Ireland training yesterday but doubt remains over the status of out-half Jonathan Sexton.

Winger Trimble missed the defeat to Scotland in Murrayfield on Saturday with a groin niggle but was back to full speed at Carton House yesterday.

In Trimble's absence, Simon Zebo and Keith Earls filled the wing berths in Edinburgh but the 31-year-old will now be hoping to regain his jersey for the trip to face Italy in Rome on Saturday (2.25pm kick-off).

Munster wing Andrew Conway is also fit again after having last week's bid for an international debut spoiled by injury while his provincial team-mate Peter O'Mahony is also back running.

Once again, though, most intrigue will surround Sexton and his calf trouble.

The Leinster No.10 has played in only two of Ireland's last 10 Test matches and Ulster's Paddy Jackson was at half-back last weekend.

While Joe Schmidt has branded Sexton's chances of facing the Azzurri as unlikely, he has not yet been ruled out with team manager Paul Dean saying he would be evaluated throughout the week.

"He is continuing his rehab and his progress is being monitored," said Dean.

"He is back running. Jonathan would play today if we let him but we have to monitor his recovery.

"At this stage, everyone is in with a chance but we need to monitor some workloads. Everyone wants to play this weekend.

"It's hard to tell with Peter O'Mahony (hamstring) and Jonathan. They could play today but we need to make sure they are ready.

"I can't make any prognosis, it's with the medics I'm afraid. We'll have to see."

Aside from those who came into the Championship carrying knocks, Ireland reported a clean bill of health from the 23 who were defeated in Edinburgh.

Prop Tadhg Furlong took a bang to the shoulder but is not a injury concern.

Dean also confirmed that the squad's late arrival to Murrayfield came after the team bus was re-routed by Scottish police.

The visitors reached the stadium just 25 minutes before they usually start their warm-up and looked well off the pace come the first blast of Romain Poite's whistle.

Dean added, however, that the delay played no part in their slow start.

"We left the hotel on time and were delayed getting to the ground but it didn't have any affect on performance," he said.

"We took a different route, enforced by the police. The circumstances were out of our control but we don't feel it contributed to the performance on the day."

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