Caelan Doris and Hugo Keenan face fitness tests as Ireland prepare to face Wales

By Sports Desk February 20, 2024

Ireland back-rower Caelan Doris is expected to be fully fit to face Wales in the Guinness Six Nations, despite sitting out training on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old suffered “bumps and bruises” while captaining his country to a 36-0 win over Italy in round two of the championship.

Full-back Hugo Keenan is yet to train after being forced off by a knee injury against the Azzurri on February 11 but will be given chance to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday afternoon’s match in Dublin.

“Caelan didn’t train and that was the plan at the beginning of the week, just to manage him,” defence coach Simon Easterby told a press conference, according to the Irish Independent.

“But we’re expecting him to train fully tomorrow, so there should be no issue with Caelan.

“He is probably carrying a few (knocks), but more bumps and bruises.

“I guess he took a few hits against Italy and he’s in a good place but he needs to be managed in a couple of areas.

“We don’t expect him not to be fully fit for the weekend.”

Keenan has been almost ever-present in Ireland’s number 15 jersey during the past three years.

Asked for an update on the 27-year-old, Easterby said: “He’s good, and I think again, it’s sort of similar to Caelan.

“Hugo has been such a massive part of this group since he first made his debut a few years ago, so it’s important that we give him the opportunity to prove his fitness.

“But we are really excited as well about the opportunities that might present if he doesn’t make it.”

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is due to name his team on Thursday afternoon.

Lock Iain Henderson is another doubt after sustaining a foot injury on Sunday during Ulster’s 19-17 United Rugby Championship defeat to the Ospreys.

Easterby said final calls on the fitness of Keenan, Doris and Henderson will be made on Wednesday.

“For someone like Caelan in particular, you wouldn’t want to leave it too late,” he said.

“You’d also want to make sure you give the guys that potentially do start the opportunity to get time in the saddle.

“It’s important that we grow the squad and grow the experience that the guys have and that’s the case for Caelan’s position and Hugo’s.”

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