Henshaw given all clear for Italy clash

2015-10-01 19:21

Guildford - Star Irish centre Robbie Henshaw is ready to be unleashed on Italy in their World Cup Pool D clash on Sunday, manager Michael Kearney said.

The 22-year-old Connacht man -- who has drawn comparisons with icon Brian O'Driscoll -- is the only one of the 31 man squad yet to have any game time in their first two matches the 50-7 thrashing of Canada and a 44-10 whipping of Romania.

However, Henshaw is now over a hamstring problem and can get some valuable playing time at the Olympic Stadium ahead of the table-topping decider between the Irish and France in Cardiff on October 11.

"He's come through training really, really powerfully this week so there are no issues with Robbie," said Kearney.

"He is available for selection and good to go."

Kearney, a former Ireland Under-23 player forced to retire through injury, could not paint as positive a picture of Henshaw's centre partner New Zealand-born Jared Payne and all-action fullback Rob Kearney.

"Rob Kearney suffered a gluteal strain against Romania (last Sunday) and didn't train in the early part of the week but he did train yesterday (Wednesday)," said Kearney, who is no relation.

"We will monitor him before we make a decision as to whether he is selected or not.

"Jared Payne has a bruised foot and hasn't trained all week," said Kearney.

"He has been continuing his rehab with physios over last three or four days and we will have a look at it on Friday and see if he can train so a decision will be made then."

Italy also have their problems. They expect to have their one world-class player back in captain Sergio Parisse, but there are doubts over veteran prop Martin Castrogiovanni -- who in Parisse's absence has sneaked ahead in their duel to become Italy's most capped player.

Hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, who deputised for Parisse as captain, is unlikely to be ready in time for Sunday's clash after suffering an injury in the 23-18 win over Canada last weekend.

The Irish admit Parisse is a man to fear but the 32-year-old Argentina-born back row forward only returned to the squad this week after recovering from the after effects of an operation to drain a haematoma on his calf.

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