Rob Kearney and Keith Earls fit for Ireland’s World Cup opener with Scotland

Andy Farrell has declared Rob Kearney and Keith Earls available for selection for Ireland’s World Cup opener against Scotland on Sunday.

Assistant coach Farrell said full-back Kearney and centre Earls “ran well” in Wednesday’s session after struggling with calf and thigh issues respectively.

“We’re pleased with how things have gone today,” said Farrell. “Rob and Keith Earls ran well and trained well.

Ireland v France – Guinness Six Nations – Aviva Stadium
Munster centre Keith Earls, pictured, has been declared fit for Ireland (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“There’s a few protocols that they need to go to, so that’s what we need to adhere to with the medical staff. But they are very happy.

“They are available, so we’ve obviously another session to go on Friday. It’s Wednesday. The game’s on Sunday, so we’re building nicely.

“Everybody (barring Robbie Henshaw) is available for selection.”

Leinster centre Henshaw will definitely miss Sunday’s Pool A match due to his hamstring issue, but Ireland still hope he will be fit for the game against hosts Japan on September 28.

Ireland v Italy – Guinness Summer Series – Aviva Stadium
Andy Farrell, pictured, has issued a positive injury update for Ireland (Donall Farmer/PA)

Farrell confirmed that Joey Carbery is fully fit, with the fly-half likely to take a seat on the bench against the Scots.

“Joey’s been training well since Monday, so we’re in a good spot,” said Farrell.

“Robbie won’t make this weekend, they are very happy with his progress but he will sit out this weekend and hopefully he will be available for next week. His progress has been great.”

Ireland’s clash with Scotland could well determine the entire outcome of Pool A, with the winners hoping they can push on and top the round-robin standings.

Quick bit of footage from @IrishRugby training earlier, where Keith Earls and Rob Kearney were moving around, freely-ish #RWC2019pic.twitter.com/kxT3tZ32Uw

— Nick Purewal (@NickPurewal) September 18, 2019

Former dual code international Farrell admitted Ireland have trained with added “bite” this week, as they sharpen up for their biggest match in some time.

“If you take for example this week, which is the week that matters, there’s certainly a feel that’s brewing of major importance to the squad,” said Farrell.

“The intensity, the bite that’s in training is very significant, and there’s a completely different feel. So I suppose that’s a culmination of what’s happened over the last couple of months.”

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