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Six Nations
Confusion over Sexton's injury
ESPN Staff
February 28, 2014
Racing Metro and Ireland have given contrasting reports over Jonathan Sexton's fitness © Getty Images
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Ireland and Racing Metro have given conflicting reports over the fitness of Jonathan Sexton.

On Thursday, Racing Metro said Sexton faced a spell on the sidelines lasting between 10 days and six weeks due to the ligament damage he sustained in their defeat to England at the weekend. With Ireland playing Italy on March 8, that looked to rule him out of action.

But Ireland later released a statement saying they were optimistic Sexton would be fit to play in their next Six Nations match.

"The Ireland medical team have had a consultant hand specialist review Johnny and his scans," the Irish Rugby Football Union said. "The ligament damage sustained does not warrant surgery and if Johnny continues his current rate of improvement we would be confident that he will be available for selection against Italy."

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt had admitted on Monday he may have looked to rest Sexton against Italy even if he found fitness, in order to keep squad players sharp.

So irrespective of Sexton's fitness, the Ireland coach could turn to Ulster's Paddy Jackson to lead the backline against Italy, with Leinster's Ian Madigan the potential understudy.

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