RARIN' TO GO Ireland boosted by return of skipper Johnny Sexton for Six Nations clash with Italy
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has declared himself fully fit for Saturday's Six Nations restart against Italy.
Sexton had been struggling with a hamstring injury in recent weeks, but having trained fully on Saturday and today, he is now raring to go.
The 35-year old is set to captain Ireland in Dublin this weekend, as Andy Farrell's side look to pick up a bonus point win that would leave their destiny in their own hands before they head to Paris on the final day.
“I trained fully on Saturday. I was being managed a little bit and then trained fully today. So, I feel good thankfully,” Sexton said.
“I did some good work over the last couple of weeks, so hopefully we're ready to hit the ground running on Saturday.”
Sexton acknowledged that the Ireland squad feel a sense of responsibility to try and help lift the sombre mood of the nation, but he insisted that they are also wary of being overawed by that kind of pressure.
Farrell's men have very much been adjusting to the restrictions that are in place within their confined bubble, with Sexton explaining how the players were keen to provide some welcome relief amidst the pandemic.
“That's the balance that we have to find,” Sexton admitted.
“We don't want it to be a burden. You guys are asking about the duty we feel, but we don't want that to weigh us down. We want to use it as an opportunity, we're privileged to go and do our thing in front of the country.
“The most normal thing we're doing at the moment is rugby training. We don't have to wear masks, we can be around each other outside.
“That's always the time we feel most comfortable and it's even more evident now, running out on the pitch is the most normal life gets.
“You go into meetings (indoors) and it's masks on, two metres apart, we have most of our meetings on the pitch because it's outdoors.
“It's very different, camp life, but we're very lucky to be able to keep doing what we're doing. There were fears that if the country went to Level 5 would we be allowed to play at all?
“So we're very grateful for the chance to be able to continue as is,” the Leinster and Ireland out-half added.