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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Ireland Continue Preparations For Final Pool Game

Ireland Continue Preparations For Final Pool Game

The Ireland squad had their first training session at the famous Carisbrook Stadium in Dunedin today, ahead of their final Rugby World Cup Pool C match against Italy next Sunday.

Rob Kearney (bruised knee), Keith Earls (bruised leg) and Sean O’Brien (bruised arm) all sat out the session as a precaution to give another 24 hours’ rest to allow their injuries to settle, but all three are expected to return to training tomorrow.

Tommy Bowe (calf) and Paul O’Connell (hamstring) both took part in some light training and it is hoped that they will both be able to step up their training levels at tomorrow’s session.

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Gordon D’Arcy has also continued his recovery programme from a hamstring strain and took a full part in the session today without any reaction.

Earls was on the left wing for Ireland’s 13-11 Six Nations win over Italy last February and knows the Azzurri will be fired up for the high stakes clash at Otago Stadium.

“Italy ran us close and beat France in the Six Nations so it’s going to be tough. It’s always been tough against Italian sides – I remember even at Under-20 level they were really physical,” he said.

“Their backs are quite physical, especially the centres, and they’re good defenders. You feel it the following morning when you’ve played them.

“Maybe in the past we’d expect to win this game but you wouldn’t say it now. Italy have pulled out some famous victories in the last few years.

“Hopefully on Sunday it won’t be our turn to be on the wrong end of a result,” added the Limerick man, who took his try-scoring tally to eight following his brace against Russia last weekend.

Follow the Ireland team in New Zealand on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.