Ireland optimistic over Sexton and Carbery

Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery are expected to be fit for Ireland's Six Nations encounter with France at the Aviva Stadium.

Sexton limped off with a thigh injury late in an unconvincing 26-16 victory for the defending champions against Italy in Rome last weekend.

The fly-half trained away from the main group in Belfast on Friday, but head coach Joe Schmidt says the World Rugby Player of the Year should feature when Les Bleus travel to Dublin a week on Sunday.

Sexton's deputy Carbery is also on course to recover from a hamstring injury in time to be in contention for the penultimate round.

"They're both on track, Johnny is certainly ahead of Joey. Johnny is going to be fine, he'll train next week," said the New Zealander.

"We're hoping that Joey will be fit to train, potentially on Wednesday.

"If he can train Wednesday and do Friday then that's sufficient lead-in that he can be in contention, so we'll just have to wait and see – more so on Joey, but we'd be very confident about Johnny."

Dan Leavy, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose, Tadhg Beirne and CJ Stander are also set to come back into the fold.

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