Off The Ball's Eoin Sheahan reports from Japan...
A slight doubt has emerged around the fitness of Johnny Sexton after the outhalf failed to train fully with the team on Tuesday.
Sexton went through “rehab” earlier, and did “some work” with the team but is being monitored and is expected to train fully with the team on Thursday, according to kicking and skills coach Richie Murphy.
However, Murphy said it’s “not unusual” for Sexton to not participate in full training two days out from a Test match.
He got a “knock on the quad” against Scotland in Yokohama on Sunday and “you kick with your quad,” said Murphy today. Murphy reiterated that he was taken off for tactical reasons.
“He got a bit of a bang on the leg and didn’t feel comfortable to kick during the game so we’ve no problem passing over the duties. Conor Murray’s done it before for us.
He’s not a regular kicker for Munster, but when he comes into camp, we always have him lined up as number two on the pitch."
"He passed over the duties, Conor took them on and he's obviously disappointed he missed two and he’ll be better for it this week,” Murphy said after team training in Iwata, Shizuoka.
Meanwhile, Bundee Aki and Peter O’Mahony have both passed HIA 3 and trained on Tuesday. The pair will now be available for selection against Japan this Saturday (kick-off, 8.15am, Irish time).
Joey Carbery, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney are now participating fully in training, and have been fully fit since the end of last week.
Robbie Henshaw went running today and Richie Murphy says they will “keep an eye on him today and tomorrow and make a decision on him then.”
Murphy also said rotation is possible against the tournament hosts this weekend, saying: “The team that we pick at the weekend is the one that we believe is right to play a Test match after six days. There could be some rotation in it, but it will be a very strong team.
“Today was all about Japan and Thursday will be as well.”
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