/ Six Nations 2015

Keith Earls and Gordon D'Arcy injury doubts ahead of England Six Nations clash

Updated: Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 17:39 | Comments

Keith Earls is a doubt for Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with England at Aviva Stadium
Keith Earls is a doubt for Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with England at Aviva Stadium

Gordon D'Arcy and Keith Earls are Ireland's biggest injury concerns for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with England at Aviva Stadium.

Team manager Mick Kearney insists the Irish backroom staff are "guarded" over the duo's chances of participating after D'Arcy suffered a dead leg and Earls incurred a shoulder problem during Saturday's 30-22 victory over Wales.

"Gordon suffered a nasty dead leg but is recovering better than we expected," Kearney said.

"The prognosis is still guarded but we are more hopeful than we were yesterday. He will do modified training today and tomorrow.

"Keith took a blow to his left shoulder that was quite sore. The prognosis is guarded.

"He will do modified training today and tomorrow and will be reviewed by a specialist tomorrow."

"Keith took a blow to his left shoulder that was quite sore. The prognosis is guarded." - Mick Kearney on Keith Earls' fitness.

Peter O'Mahony was concussed at the Millennium Stadium but has improved rapidly and is in line to play against England, subject to International Rugby Board concussion guidelines.

"Peter took a bang to the head in a tackle and is being treated as concussion. He was fine after the game and was well today," Kearney said.

"He'll follow the IRB return to playing guidelines and it depends on how he recovers during the week."

Brian O'Driscoll and Mike Ross played a full part in training today after suffering a head wound and severe cramp respectively against Wales, while Rob Kearney is available for Sunday despite his bruised back.

Connacht full-back Robbie Henshaw, Leinster back row Rhys Ruddock, Ulster centre Darren Cave and Ulster wing Andrew Trimble have been called up as cover.

Sunday's showdown is already being billed as a title decider between the only two sides who retain genuine Grand Slam ambitions after France were upstaged by Italy.

Adding to the occasion are the previous two Six Nations meetings between the teams - England were thumped 24-6 in Dublin in 2011 and then avenged that defeat with a 30-9 rout of Ireland 12 months later.

The clash at Twickenham was notable for the manner in which the Irish scrum fell apart once tighthead Mike Ross had sustained a neck injury with his 37th minute replacement Tom Court enduring a nightmare afternoon.

Forwards coach Gert Smal accepts Ireland's front row will be viewed as a weak link once more, but has reminded England that Ross, Rory Best and Cian Healy have since proved their scrummaging credentials.

"It's quite obvious they will target us in that area. There are rumours out there that they want to attack our scrum," Smal said.

"It's a great challenge for us. Last year is last year and we've worked on a couple of things.

"We showed against Argentina in the autumn and last Saturday that we can scrum.

"We know exactly what we're in for, it's going to be tough, but I have full confidence in the players."

Ireland's scrum is far more solid when Ross is fit and scrum-half Conor Murray is unconcerned by the pressure England expect to apply in the set piece.

"We had a rough day at Twickenham last year but in fairness to the players on the pitch they stood up and kept fighting until the end," Murray said.

"Our scrum's in a pretty good place and we managed a few first phase moves off it on Saturday."

Murray distanced Ireland from any suggestion Sunday's Lansdowne Road collision should decide who succeeds Wales as champions.

"You can lose a Grand Slam or Triple Crown in this game, but you can't win it," he said.

"Even teams like Italy are stepping up to the plate this year and there will be big challenges after Sunday. It's a big game, but it's not a title decider."

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