Johnny Sexton gives Joe Schmidt a welcome boost
Ireland ace winning fitness battle
IRELAND'S growing Grand Slam challenge has been given a massive boost by the news that Johnny Sexton is odds on to be fit for the next leg of the journey against Wales on Saturday week.
Irish coach Joe Schmidt reported that Sexton felt a 'twinge' before he was substituted against England and confirmation came last night that he suffered a minor hamstring pull and is confident of being available for the showdown in Cardiff.
Sean O'Brien and Jared Payne have begun the process of working their way through the return-to-play protocols from concussion.
The Carlow man has recovered well from a nasty-looking blow to the head and Payne is on the same path from what looked like a less damaging collision.
Both must go through the tests and exercise patterns laid out by World Rugby before Schmidt knows whether he can use them or must look to other options like Tommy O'Donnell for the No 7 shirt and either Luke Fitzgerald or Keith Earls for outside centre berth.
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