Jared Payne ‘fully available’ for selection against Italy
Jared Payne returns to full fitness after hamstring trouble
Joe Schmidt adds uncapped flanker Jack O’Donoghue
The reigning champions Ireland are winless after three matches
Jared Payne is set to return to the Ireland team for Saturday’s penultimate Six Nations game against Italy after coming through training today.
The New Zealander injured his hamstring against France and missed the defeat to England, but after training away from the squad last week he was set to rejoin the on-pitch session at Carton House this afternoon.
Joe Schmidt has aldo added uncapped Munster flanker Jack O’Donoghue to his Irish squad for Ireland’s remaining two games.
Flanker Tommy O’Donnell suffered a stinger injury to his shoulder in Munster’s 26-5 Guinness Pro12 win over Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday.
Ireland were hopeful the 28-year-old would be back in full training on Tuesday, but added the uncapped Munster back-rower Jack O’Donoghue to the training squad as cover.
Reigning champions Ireland are winless after three matches and chasing two closing victories to avoid slipping from title-holders to also-rans.