Ireland fly-half Jonny Sexton will be fit to face Scotland in the Six Nations opener at Murrayfield on 4 February, coach Joe Schmidt has revealed. In just his second game back after an extended break to correct hamstring problems, the 31-year-old was forced to withdraw with a calf injury barely 20 minutes into in last Friday's draw with Castres.
But speaking at the tournament's annual media launch on Wednesday (January 25), Schmidt clarified the fitness of the half-back: "Johnny took a bruised calf in the game against Castres and it just tightened up. There's not a lot of damage there; nothing's showing up that's overly significant. Johnny's already starting back doing a little bit. We'd be confident he'll be able to train next week and therefore be fully available to face Scotland."
The Leinster number 10, who finished joint highest try scorer in the 2014 Six Nations, has endured a wretched injury streak since missing last year's tour with a shoulder injury.
The 51-year-old coach also shed light on flanker Sean O'Brien's calf injury. "Sean is slightly further ahead than Johnny. We're confident he may train before the end of the week fully, but he should train fully next week."
Uncapped Munster centre Rory Scannell is on standby to fill in at number 10 with only two outside-halves in the 40-strong Ireland squad for the opening two rounds of the competition. Paddy Jackson is the only other recognised number 10 selected for the first two games in Edinburgh and Rome, where they face Italy.