2018 World Rugby Player of the Year Johnny Sexton was one of five Irish players who sat out training today at Quinta do Lago in the Algarve, placing a doubt on his chances of facing England this Saturday.
That means Connacht's Jack Carty could be in line for a Test start at out-half in the World Cup warm-up match in London.
Both Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw also sat out today's session due to "soreness", while James Ryan was also rested after a hectic schedule of training recently.
Speaking this afternoon from Portugal, the Irish Skills and Kicking Coach Richie Murphy said that they all sat out for precautionary reasons.
“This morning was a case of managing a few guys with a bit of soreness and the rest of the squad training hard for the game on Saturday.
“There’s no real fears about them, it’s just about managing them and getting their work-load right for possibly involvement this week and, if not, the following week.”
Murphy also gave an update on Joey Carbery's injury situation. The Munster fly-half underwent an operation on the left ankle he injured against Italy which has called into question his World Cup participation.
Squad update from Richie Murphy including the latest on @joeycarbery A number of players sat out the session today including @henshawrob , @JohnnySexton & @KEITHEARLS87 #ShoulderToShoulder #ENGvIRE pic.twitter.com/wnzT7KUSpo
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) August 20, 2019
“Obviously, the time frame around his injury has been well stated. He’s recovering really well, he’s well into his recovery programme and, talking to him, he feels good and confident. He’s exactly where the medics would expect him to be at the moment.
“We’re just watching him [Carbery], keeping a very close eye on how he’s progressing. At this moment, we’re very happy with where he’s at but whether there’s a spot for him or not will depend on other players. Opportunities will go to the likes of Jack and Ross as well as Johnny getting game time over the next few weeks.”
Meanwhile England prop Mako Vunipola could make his return from a hamstring injury in Saturday's game.
The 28-year-old had surgery after a tearing the muscle in Saracen's Champions Cup final victory in May, but could be ready for action this weekend.
Ireland kick-off their Rugby World Cup campaign against Scotland on September 22nd in Yokohama.
A double-header of warm-up clashes against Warren Gatland's Wales follows this weekend's match against England.