Johnny Sexton eases injury fears ahead of Six Nations opener
It would not be a Six Nations if we were not fretting over a key Irish player (or four) with injury issues.
Heading into the 2021 championship, Johnny Sexton, James Lowe, Peter O'Mahony and Tadhg Furlong are all dealing with knocks or coming back from knocks. At today's 2021 Guinness Six Nations launch, Sexton tried his best to alleviate fears over his fitness.
The Ireland captain left Leinster's PRO14 win over Munster, last weekend, midway through the second half with what looked to be a hamstring issue. Following the game, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said Sexton would get scans on his injured leg on Monday.
One day on from that scan and Sexton spoke of his frustration at picking up a strain, and offered a glimmer of light ahead of the championship opener with Wales (on February 7).
"Any time you get a niggle like that, it's very frustrating," says Sexton.
"I did lots of work over four or five weeks to make sure something like this didn't happen, and it did.
"It's nothing major and hopefully I'll be back training by the end of the week and fit for the Wales game."
Sexton is hopeful that his own contract with Leinster and the IRFU can be sorted in the coming weeks and that he can 'stay on for another year or two'.
The outhalf said he was delighted to be asked to lead his country again after James Ryan deputised for him during the Autumn Nations Cup.
On Furlong, Lowe and O'Mahony, who left the fray against Leinster on Saturday, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says all 36 players selected for the squad have been brought in with a view for competing in the opener against Wales.