Kearney suffered a gluteal strain against Romania on Sunday, but appears to have shaken off the injury as Ireland prepare to face Italy at London’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday in their third Rugby World Cup Pool D encounter.
The New Zealand-born outside centre sat out training at the team’s Guildford base yesterday with a bruised foot and was walking with the use of a crutch yesterday, meaning he is unlikely to be named in Joe Schmidt’s side tomorrow given the coach’s record of picking players who have trained earlier in the week.
Darren Cave has warned the TV pundits to stick to the facts when criticising Ireland’s World Cup performances, in an impassioned defence of team-mate Jared Payne.
“No he didn’t train”, scrum coach Greg Feek said of the Ulster back.
“Jared Payne didn’t train – he’s just got a bit of a bruise on his foot so we’ll see how he goes for the rest of the week”.
Ireland top Pool D after winning their opening two games and victory over the Azzurri will secure their place in the quarter-finals.
“He trained, it’s just a matter of how he comes up from that”.
“The first I heard about it was after Tommy had been in Monday’s press conference, because Tommy and I had actually had a chat last week about how much we were both looking forward to playing beside him”, said the 28-year-old who made his World Cup debut in the No.12 jersey alongside Payne against Romania.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt could move Keith Earls from the wing to outside centre if Payne is ruled out. We’ll see how he goes over the rest of the week and then maybe…
Meanwhile Michele Rizzo said the Italian front row are bracing themselves for a hard afternoon’s work on Sunday, whether it’s Leinster’s Cian Healy or Jack McGrath who get the nod to start at loosehead.
“I think it’s the best team to beat Italy has to take the field”.
“I think he sees space really well, he makes really good, strong decisions on the ball and he’s a good communicator so he’s really good to defend with”.
“We have to get a few centres that are going to show the ability to go through teams”.
“Both of them respect each other for what they do and I think they’ve got different strengths”.