Ireland wings Mack Hansen and James Lowe on mend ahead of New Zealand showdown

By Sports Desk October 09, 2023

Injured Ireland wings Mack Hansen and James Lowe are “making good strides” ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand, while James Ryan is seeing a specialist on a wrist issue.

As of Monday morning, no member of Andy Farrell’s 33-man squad had been ruled out of the clash with the All Blacks in Paris.

Ryan’s situation is expected to be come clearer in the next 24 hours, with Ireland hopeful the problem is not as bad as first feared.

Wing Keith Earls and centre Robbie Henshaw could be available to feature at Stade de France after missing out against Scotland on Saturday with hamstring injuries.

Team manager Mick Kearney said: “James Ryan is seeing a specialist and we’re hoping for better news than originally anticipated.

“Mack Hansen took a bang to his calf but is improving and both him and James Lowe are making good strides.

“Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw are both in contention as they progress during the week and apart from that just some usual bumps and bruises after a physical Test match.”

Ireland secured their last-eight spot in emphatic fashion by topping Pool B thanks to a crushing 36-14 win over the eliminated Scots.

But that victory came at a cost as Hansen was forced off after returning from a head injury assessment before opening try scorer Lowe departed at half-time due to a bang in the eye.

Lock Ryan, who injured his other wrist in the 13-8 success over South Africa on September 23, then added to the list of concerns for head coach Farrell.

“We won’t have a definitive on James (Ryan) until after he sees the specialist but certainly there is more optimism around James than probably what was originally anticipated,” added Kearney.

“Within the next 24 hours we should have a clearer picture of where James is at.

“At this stage, no one ruled out for the match against New Zealand.”

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