Keith Earls appears to be in a race against time to face Scotland in Ireland's World Cup opener, but the Munster winger is still hoping he can prove his fitness.

The 31-year-old has been battling back from a thigh complaint and while Andy Farrell insisted that Earls "ran well" in training yesterday, there is growing speculation that he, along with Rob Kearney (calf), will sit out the game in Yokohama.

"At my age, these things creep up on you, but that is the sport I’m in," he told RTÉ Sport. "Tendons like work and I have done a lot of rehab over the past few days, and the more work I do the better I feel, and they feel great.

"I had a good running session on Monday, I ran again today and I have another session on Friday. Hopefully back into it fully and I can put my hand up for selection.

"Hopefully I'm there on Sunday."

Joe Schmidt is expected to call upon Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour should Earls and Kearney fail to prove their fitness, though Earls, publicly at least, is insisting he will be doing everything to take the field on Sunday morning.

After a prolonged build-up, the last thing he wants is to be forced out of the first game, but is hoping that Ireland’s stay in Japan will be a lengthy one.

My wife is giving out to me because I keep on ruining the morning routine

He acknowledges though that it is hugely impactful on family life and the time difference is causing bother for his wife Edel.

"Hopefully we will be away for a few more weeks so it is bitter sweet. My wife is giving out to me because I keep on ruining the morning routine. When she is trying to get them ready for school, I am there looking to have the chats.

"It is very tough [being away from home]. We are fathers, sons, brothers so it can be tough being away but we are well able to look after ourselves and have the craic."

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