Eire coach Paul O’Connell offers shocking Hugo Keenan damage verdict | Rugby | Sport

Eire forwards coach Paul O’Connell thinks that if star full-back Hugo Keenan cannot play towards Wales, it may not be all unhealthy information. Keenan damage his knee in Sunday’s 36-0 Six Nations win over Italy and did not do any bodily coaching on Thursday.

The 27-year-old hasn’t been dominated out of the match with Warren Gatland’s group on February 24 in Dublin but, and he is been a daily within the quantity 15 shirt for the final three years.

Other than Keenan, solely the injured Jimmy O’Brien and Michael Lowry, who is not in favour for the time being, have began as full-back for Eire because the finish of 2020.

“He did not prepare at this time however he hasn’t been dominated out for the Welsh sport but,” mentioned O’Connell about Keenan.

“He is progressing along with his rehabilitation. He was there at coaching at this time and he took half in all of the organisational bits. He performs an enormous position. He is clearly injury-free for a really very long time, he is a superb participant.”

“It is most likely good for us in some methods as a result of it makes us play another person there if he would not make it. However I am undecided but the place he is at. He was round coaching at this time so we would be hopeful.”

Fly-half Jack Crowley took over for Keenan within the ultimate moments towards the Azzurri, whereas Ciaran Frawley might additionally step in.

Jordan Larmour and Jacob Stockdale, who’re half of the present squad, got probabilities to play at 15 early in Andy Farrell’s reign however haven’t been chosen a lot since then.

O’Connell mentioned about Keenan: “At full-back, you are masking the again area defensively and he has lots of work to do in assault as nicely.”

He added: “There’s lots of IP (mental property) that we’d miss out on if he wasn’t enjoying. He additionally performs an enormous management position for us. He is a really sensible man, he is a problem-solver throughout the group, he is extremely regarded throughout the group. Whether or not he is there or not, he’ll proceed to play that position.”

Eire, the reigning champions, are main the desk after securing back-to-back bonus-point victories over France and Italy.

Keenan was the one member of Farrell’s squad to overlook Thursday’s session.

Captain Peter O’Mahony, prop Tadhg Furlong and centres Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose every took half following their respective damage points.

Former Eire captain O’Connell believes Ringrose, who hasn’t performed on this yr’s match attributable to a shoulder downside, is ready to return towards Wales.

“It appears prefer it, he educated at this time, we did not do a large session,” he mentioned. “He is in fine condition.”

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