Rugby

Calvin Nash and Ciaran Frawley on track to be fit for Scotland showdown

The pair sustained head injuries in the round-four defeat to England.

Ireland’s Calvin Nash has returned to training after being injured against England
Ireland’s Calvin Nash has returned to training after being injured against England Ireland’s Calvin Nash has returned to training after being injured against England (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland pair Calvin Nash and Ciaran Frawley are on track to feature in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations title decider with Scotland, according to assistant coach Simon Easterby.

Munster wing Nash, who was forced off by a head injury inside five minutes of the 23-22 round-four defeat to England, trained with Andy Farrell’s squad on Tuesday.

Versatile Leinster back Frawley came on to replace Nash at Twickenham but departed with a similar issue 10 minutes into the second half. He is understood to be undergoing rehab with his province.

Ciaran Frawley suffered a head injury at Twickenham
Ciaran Frawley suffered a head injury at Twickenham Ciaran Frawley suffered a head injury at Twickenham (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Obviously Nashy and Frawls have to go through the process and return to contact and then the return-to-play part of that is making sure they don’t have symptoms,” Easterby told a press conference, according to the Irish Independent.

“Those symptoms would put them back a day, but they are both on track to be up for selection this weekend.”

Ireland will retain the championship crown by avoiding defeat against the Scots in Dublin, while two losing bonus points would also be sufficient.

Their pursuit of successive Grand Slams was ended in agonising fashion by a last-gasp Marcus Smith drop goal in south-west London.

Easterby insists Ireland cannot afford to “feel sorry for ourselves” ahead of a pivotal St Patrick’s weekend at the Aviva Stadium.

“Expectation within the group is high,” he said.

“Obviously the previous games during the Six Nations had been good, (but) we still feel there are things every week that we can get better at.

“We just didn’t get on the front foot enough versus England. We let them come at us and get momentum.

“We weren’t at our best, but we could have won it.

“It’s important we tidy that up, get over it, and there’s plenty to play for this week.

“Like any team that loses and has high expectations of themselves, they’re disappointed in how they performed.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We need to pick ourselves up for Saturday.”

Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby
Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby (Mike Egerton/PA)

England, who travel to France, can capitalise on an Ireland slip-up to snatch the title, while Les Bleus and Scotland are mathematically still in the mix.

Realistically, Gregor Townsend’s men are playing for the consolation of the Triple Crown following their shock loss to Italy due to Ireland’s vastly-superior points difference.

“There’s no lack of clarity of what they need to get ready this week,” said Easterby.

“There are subplots everywhere and we’ve been very fortunate over the last couple of seasons to play for something on the last weekend.

Scotland suffered a shock loss to Italy
Scotland suffered a shock loss to Italy Scotland suffered a shock loss to Italy (Adam Davy/PA)

“We also know that Scotland will be smarting after that defeat to Italy, who deserved that result, but we know their back three can create problems, Finn Russell pulling the strings and when he’s on form it’s difficult to stop their momentum.

“We have a huge amount to play for and want to finish on a high. We want to put to bed what happened last weekend.

“We can’t change that, but it’s the last game of the Six Nations and a title on the line.

“Winning the Grand Slam last year was hard to do. We fell short last weekend, but we still have something special to play for this weekend at the Aviva.”