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Wednesday 15 August 2018

O'Connell is Kidney's main injury concern

INSPIRATIONAL Ireland lock Paul O'Connell is Declan Kidney's biggest injury concern ahead of Ireland's do-or-die Pool C clash with the Italians.

The giant Munster second row once again sat out training as he struggles to recover from a niggly hamstring strain he picked up in the historic 15-6 win over Australia. O'Connell, increasingly frustrated by his battle to be fit, expects to train fully tomorrow. "I should be back in the mix, full training-wise by Friday," he said.

Leinster captain Leo Cullen is understood to be on standby.

O'Connell's Munster team-mate Ronan O'Gara looks poised to retain the number 10 jersey ahead of Jonny Sexton and he could be paired with scrum-half Conor Murray, after both players ran through most of the session along with the rest of the front-liners.

O'Gara has revealed he is in great form ahead of the weekend's crunch clash in Dunedin.

"People would think I was disappointed and upset not to be starting against Australia," said O'Gara. "I'm in a great place mentally and feel I have something to offer."

Tommy Bowe has fully recovered from calf problems, centre Gordon D'Arcy will almost certainly be fit and although Sean O'Brien is struggling with bruising to his arm, he is expected to start.

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