Joe Schmidt's latest Johnny Sexton comments don't exactly fill you with confidence
Here we go again.
There is something familiar about all this.
Yet again, in the build-up to an Ireland Six Nations fixture, we are engulfed in the discourse surrounding Johnathan Sexton's fitness.
Of course, Ireland and the rest of the competing nations, have a weekend off as they prepare to resume their respective campaigns next week.
Ireland are currently training at Monaghan RFC, where today, an open training session was held, which allowed members of the public to see their heroes put through their paces.
With regards to the media attention the players and management received today, there was one topic which ranked higher than others when it came to discussion, Sexton's fitness.
Sexton, of course, felt tightness in his calf on the Monday in the build up to the Scotland game when conducting a running session. It was hoped at the time, that he would be deemed fit, if he successfully completed the running session and the subsequent full training sessions later in the week.
It now looks like the same circumstances will apply as we approach the France game as Joe Schmidt told RTÉ today.
“I wouldn’t like to put a percentage on it (likelihood to be included in the team announcement) but we’re probably more quietly confident than overly confident but he is hitting his markers and while he is hitting his markers we remain confident.”
Schmidt revealed that Sexton came through his running session today with no ill-effects and it is hoped to incrementally ramp up his load with the hope that he will train fully next Tuesday.
We hope that Sexton has some better luck this time around but the "quietly confident than overly confident" remark would make you wonder if the Irish management really expect Sexton to be involved against France.
Nevertheless, Paddy Jackson has proved himself to get the job done and should be start against France, regardless of Sexton's fitness.
There is a big decision to be made https://t.co/MwMR3tK0H2
— SportsJOE.ie (@SportsJOEdotie) February 16, 2017
Elsewhere, Conor Murray sat out today's session as he is being rested but in more positive news, both Peter O'Mahony and Andrew Trimble trained fully today.
Schmidt updates on Sexton fitness pic.twitter.com/xJlkC3Gs00
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) February 17, 2017
Click play [below] to check out an excellent episode of The Hard Yards rugby podcast, featuring Ronan O'Gara, Paddy Wallace, Kevin McLaughlin and SportsJOE's Pat McCarry chatting with host Andy McGeady.
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