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Saturday 10 December 2016

Ireland upbeat about Cian Healy's neck injury

Ireland rugby star Cian Healy
Ireland rugby star Cian Healy

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby has given a positive prognosis on the neck injury Cian Healy is currently recovering from.

The prop had surgery on his neck in the latter part of last season but there had been reports last week that his recovery had hit a stumbling block and his World Cup participation was in doubt.

Giving an injury update at Carton House today, Easterby was upbeat about Healy's condition.

"All the boys coming back from shoulder surgery... Luke Fitzgerald, Marty Moore and Sean Cronin are progressing nicely with there rehabilitation programme. Their working hard to get back to full fitness," he said.

"Cian Healy is progressing nicely, working week-to-week with the medical team to give him the best opportunity to get right over the next couple of weeks so hopefully we can include him towards the back end of August.

"He is doing his rehabilitation programme and it's going according to plan. We don't want to put too much pressure on the situation.

"The medical team are on top of things and they are pretty comfortable about how it's going. We have to take advice from them.

"It's not ideal for a player not to get game time during this period.

The players have been involved in mini-camps over the last five weeks and have been given breaks or been sent back to their provinces and Easterby is confident that they have got the balance right in their preparations.

"We're building nicely, it's early to be playing Test matches but we are ready to put into practice some of the things we've been working on over the last couple of weeks Wales include former England under-20 Ross Moriarty has been handed a start for the Saturday's clash in Cardiff along with fellow debutants Eli Walker, centre Tyler Morgan and lock Dominic Day.

It's a starting XV that Easterby is excited to see in action.

"It's exciting they have four new caps in the starting team... A bit of a mix of youth and experience," he added.

"Jake Ball and Dom Day create a new combination in the second row and Mike Phillips and James Hook reunite an old combinations.

"They are trying some new combinations and there are lots of talented players coming in there.

"Tyler Morgan is playing very well for the Dragons and Harry Amos is very exciting at full-back. The Welsh management have high hopes for him."

The pressure that comes with a regular Test match will be missing this weekend but the importance of the game for players trying to make the 31-man World Cup squad and management trying to perfect things for the massive tests in September and October can't be understated.

"It's a test week and for the players involved for us, it's a massive opportunity," Easterby continued.

"Some have never been tested at this level before...So we'll know more about players and combinations after Saturday.

"We have to hit the ground running and assess the players under fatigue.

"It's a great test for us and is without doubt a test match.

"We've played against Wales four months ago and that is not a game we were particularly happy about coming away from Cardiff.

"The most important thing is that we get a performance and then we have something to work from.

"It is important that you test these things at Test level."

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