Lions quartet on verge of Ireland return

Ireland could have four British & Irish Lions back in their side for Saturday's clash with France in Dublin. [more]

Lions quartet on verge of Ireland return

Ireland could have four British & Irish Lions back in their side for Saturday’s clash with France in Dublin.

Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Cian Healy and Jonathan Sexton all missed Ireland’s 26-3 win over Italy in Rome last weekend with a variety of injuries.

But team manager Mick Kearney confirmed that the quartet are now available for selection again as is a fifth Lion, hooker Rory Best, who went off with a concussion in the 48th minute against the Azzurri.

All five players were part of the historic 2013 British & Irish Lions tour of Australia, where the tourists triumphed 2-1 in the three-game Test series.

Against Italy, flanker O’Brien was named in the Ireland starting XV for the first time in over a year following multiple shoulder surgeries but suffered a hamstring strain in the warm-up.

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However, Kearney is hopeful that the 27-year-old’s injury nightmare is finally at an end.

“Sean did an MRI scan which confirmed a hamstring strain on the minor end of the scale,” explained Kearney.

“He is feeling good and he will train with the squad now – if he comes through that, he will be available for selection. Whether that will happen or not, we will have to wait and see.

“Cian Healy trained fully last week, including some scrummaging which he came through very well and he is available for selection.

“Johnny Sexton is cleared to train fully and again he is available for selection. Johnny trained, doing everything for the last couple of weeks since the squad got together.

“Jamie Heaslip is also fully recovered and will train this week – Jamie was pretty good last week.

“I think it was the fact he couldn't train in the early part of the week – he didn't do an awful lot on Monday or Tuesday, but trained pretty fully on Thursday.

“On another day maybe he would have been good to go but as you know with Joe [Schmidt], he does like to have the team training fully from very early in the week.

“But Jamie is top class and really good to go this week.

“Rory Best suffered concussion. He has been very well since the game and is completing a gradual return-to-play protocol.

“If he completes the protocol without any symptoms, he will be available for selection."
 

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