Trio back to boost Ireland

Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and James Ryan look set to recover from injury for Ireland's Six Nations clash with Wales in nine days' time.  

Prop Furlong lasted just three minutes of Ireland's comprehensive 56-19 win over Italy in Round Two of the Championship before being substituted after feeling a twinge in his hamstring.

Although he didn't take part in the main training session on Thursday, the 25-year-old did run at 75 per cent and complete change-of-direction work separately with a member of the coaching team.

And while Joe Schmidt is confident in the depth behind his tighthead, the Ireland boss was optimistic after the session in Athlone.

"Yeah, I think so," said Schmidt when asked whether Furlong would be fit for the Wales game. "He's gone really well.

"Tadhg ran 75 per cent speed today and did change of direction. He's not far away from potentially being able to train fully on Tuesday.

"He's a starting player for the Lions. That speaks volumes for the progress he has made over the last couple of years.

"At the same time, John Ryan and Andrew Porter have played a fair bit for us. What you've got to have is depth in your squad and you've got to have confidence in that depth and that's what we'll go to now.

"If it's not required that's all well and good but if it is, we'll keep forging ahead with the players we have available."

Henderson was replaced at half time of the victory over Italy after suffering tightness in his hamstring and quad, while fellow lock Ryan missed the Azzurri clash with a groin niggle.

But Schmidt expects both to be back in full training on Tuesday, ahead of the visit of Wales to Dublin next weekend.

"Iain Henderson is probably a little bit ahead of him [Furlong]," added Schmidt. "Iain felt he could have played the second half against Italy but we took him off as a precaution.

"You saw him working with Tadhg there, he's pretty much 100 per cent. We are just kind of staging their re-entry. Iain could have trained but he's also played a lot of minutes so we're just managing him.

"At the same time, James Ryan has also made really good progress, so those two are back in the mix."

However, the exact extent of centre Robbie Henshaw's shoulder injury – sustained while notching his second try against Italy – was revealed.

Henshaw had already been ruled out of the Six Nations after undergoing surgery following the dislocation and Schmidt explained that the 24-year-old is unlikely to be back before the end of the season.

"It was something we feared after the game, just with the mechanism of injury," concluded Schmidt. "But you always hope against hope that something may not have happened and you get through without any serious injury.

"Unfortunately, that shoulder isn't going to be good for another three to four months."

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