Ireland's Garry Ringrose 'progressing nicely' ahead of Italy clash

Garry Ringrose in action for Leinster v Stade Francais in January 2024 Garry Ringrose is recovering from a shoulder injury (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland are hopeful centre Garry Ringrose will be available for Sunday’s Six Nations match against Italy in Dublin.

Leinster co-captain Ringrose is “progressing nicely” in his recovery from the shoulder injury which caused him to miss his country’s 38-17 round-one win over France.

The 29-year-old was again absent from training on Wednesday but Ireland’s coaching staff expect to have a fully-fit squad in contention for the Azzurri’s visit to the Aviva Stadium.

“We are pretty confident that everyone will be fit to train fully tomorrow,” assistant coach Mike Catt told reporters, according to RTE.

“There are a few guys obviously with a few bumps and bruises from Friday night. There are a couple that are still rumbling around.

“Calvin (Nash), Hugo (Keenan), Ringer is coming through nicely. He obviously didn’t train today, but he is progressing nicely.

“We will see how they pull up over the next couple of days.”

With Ringrose sidelined, Robbie Henshaw partnered Bundee Aki in midfield for Friday evening’s impressive bonus-point triumph in Marseille.

The statement success over the pre-tournament favourites fuelled talk of Andy Farrell’s Ireland becoming the first team to win back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations era.

Attack coach Catt urged players to ignore the “external noise” and focus on immediate challenges.

“There’s no need to (get ahead of ourselves), is there,” he said.

“Andy has always spoken about the next performance, that’s been the key thing.

“From the players’ point of view, too, the Grand Slam will take care of itself if we perform to a level we are capable of performing.

“It’s making sure we put our focus on that and don’t worry about the external noise.”

Head coach Farrell is contemplating changes for the clash with Gonzalo Quesada’s side.

Italy have only once beaten Ireland in the Six Nations – 22-15 in Rome in 2013 – but pushed England close in a 27-24 defeat on the opening weekend.

“What I liked about the Italy performance (against England) was, they didn’t have a great World Cup,” said Catt, who was part of the Azzurri’s coaching staff between 2016 and 2019.

“I think they put their hands up to that as a group of players.

“And for them to turn around and put in a performance like that against a good England side was very impressive.

“They are obviously trying to impress the new coach as well and I just thought the way they played, they didn’t go away from their DNA in terms of (how) they’ve played over the last couple of years.

“I think with Quesada, they’ll tighten things up a little bit but when they get going, they caused some serious problems by scoring some very, very good tries.”

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