KEITH EARLS HAS been ruled of out Ireland’s clash with Samoa on Saturday with a knee problem.
The Munster wing is suffering from patella tendinitis, a fairly common injury among professional rugby players and sometimes referred to as ‘jumper’s knee’.
It is a cruel blow for the 26-year-old, who has been in fine form for his province so far this season. However, the hope is that Earls will return to the frame and play some part in the other November Tests against Australia and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Irish manager Mick Kearney has revealed that Paul O’Connell and Sean O’Brien are expected to take part in the squad training session scheduled at Carton House tomorrow, while Cian Healy trained today. O’Connell is considered a strong candidate to captain Ireland on Saturday, so his return is an obvious boost.
O’Brien has been nursing an ankle injury, while Healy has recovered from knee trouble of his own. Losing Earls is a disappointment for head coach Joe Schmidt but he will be relieved that three of his most important forwards are edging towards full fitness.
Jonathan Sexton has been passed fit too, despite his heavy schedule of games with Racing Metro recently. The out-half was an unused substitute in the Top 14 club’s defeat to Biarritz on Saturday. Robbie Henshaw is another player returning to full training tomorrow.
Speaking from Carton House this afternoon, team manager Kearney said:
Keith is continuing with his rehab for patella tendinitis this week and he won’t be available for selection. Cian Healy has recovered well and will train fully this afternoon. Paul O’Connell has made good progress and has met all his markers, to date.
“He’s expected to train fully tomorrow. Sean O’Brien has also made good progress and will train fully tomorrow. All the other injury concerns from last week, Rory Best, Declan Fitzpatrick and Mike Ross have fully recovered.”
Andrew Trimble, Roger Wilson and Donncha O’Callaghan have all rejoined the squad after featuring for their provinces in the weekend’s RaboDirect Pro12 action.
- Originally published at 13.16