Schmidt reveals Sexton prognoses
INJURY UPDATE: Joe Schmidt had a mixed bag of news on Wednesday, when he spoke to the media at the launch of the Six Nations in London.
Ireland looks set to have star flyhalf Johnny Sexton cleared for their tournament opener against England in Dublin next Saturday, February 2, but lock Iain Henderson may miss the entire campaign.
Schmidt is confident Sexton will be fully fit, having missed Leinster’s last two games due to a knee tendon injury.
The flyhalf was with Ireland at their pre-season camp in Portugal since Monday.
“Johnny trained yesterday [Tuesday],” Schmidt told a media scrum at the tournament launch.
“Johnny will train fully on Thursday, when we’ll try to ramp the training up a little bit, and our expectation is that he will get through that without any problems at all.
“He’s very confident, the medical staff are confident, and so are we.”
However, the news was not so positive for Munster’s Tadhg Beirne and Ulster’s Iain Henderson.
Beirne will miss the opening two rounds with a knee injury.
Henderson, who picked up a finger injury in Ulster’s win over Leicester, is in danger of missing the entire tournament.
“Iain could potentially make the last two weekends, maybe the last weekend. That would be quite tight,” said Schmidt.
“Tadhg Beirne, on the other hand, should possibly make the third weekend and definitely the last two weekends.
“I feel bad for both of them. Iain Henderson, six weeks out, comes back with a man-of-the-match performance and back out again. A really unlucky injury.
“Same with Tadhg Beirne, he’s been so robust, so resilient, he’s played a lot of match minutes in the last three years. He was going really well in that game, got a couple of fantastic turnovers and then to pick up an injury is really disappointing for him.”
Having called Quinn Roux into his squad, Schmidt now has four locks training in Portugal this week – James Ryan, Devin Toner, Ultan Dillane and Roux.
Sources: The42 & Belfast Telegraph