Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan both trained today as part of the Ireland squads normal kicking routine with Assistant Coach Mark Tainton in the Aviva Stadium.
Jackson came through as expected and will train fully with the squad
Ronan O’ Gara could be in line for a swift return to the Irish rugby squad, despite being omitted from Declan Kidney’s extended squad earlier in the week.
With Paddy Jackson struggling to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in training, and Jonathan Sexton losing his battle to return to fitness, O’ Gara could be in line for a return to the match day squad to face France on Saturday evening.
If Jackson fails to recover in time for the clash with Les Bleus, Leinster’s Ian Madigan will make his international début and start at out-half. That would see O’Gara being named on the bench, giving him the chance to add to his record 128 international caps.
“Absolutely not would I mind asking Ronan back,” Kidney told reporters. “I’d be delighted. There was no fun whatsoever in leaving him out. I’d only be too delighted. It wouldn’t be an awkward conversation from my side, absolutely not.
“I’m sure he’d love to play for Ireland, he’s always loved playing for Ireland and he’d continue to do that. Ronan will have been disappointed. You don’t give the type of service that Ronan has given and not be disappointed.”
Kidney named his extended squad last Sunday, with O’ Gara’s omission leading many to conclude that the Munster man’s international career was coming to an end. However, Jackson’s injury has led Kidney to name A.N. Other at out-half, as he is giving Jackson every chance to recover.
“It’s the role of the coach to make these calls and I felt Ian [Madigan] had been going well and deserved his chance. But it’s unfair to put Ronan in that spotlight. Everybody is centrally contracted, so everyone is available to play for Ireland at any stage.”
The deadline for Kidney to finalise his team selection is Thursday afternoon. Ian Madigan is expected to don the number ten jersey should Paddy Jackson fail to recover from his hamstring injury.
Ireland team to play France on Saturday 9th March, K.O. 5:00pm.
15 – Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster/44)
14 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster/16)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster/123)
12 – Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster/1)
11 – Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster/37)
10 – A.N. Other
9 – Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster/17)
1 – Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster/37)
2 – Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster/65)
3 – Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster/27)
4 – Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht/8)
5 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster/26)
6 – Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster/12)
7 – Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster/25)
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster/55) Captain
16 – Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster/24)
17 – David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster/5)
18 – A.N. Other
19 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster/93)
20 – Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster/3)
21 – Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster/49)
22 – A.N. Other
23 – Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College /Leinster/24)