Payne on track to face Italy

Date published: March 1 2016

Ireland expect Jared Payne to be fully fit for their match with Italy on March 12 after the Ulster back showed progress on Monday.

Payne missed Ireland's loss to England at Twickenham last weekend due to a hamstring injury, with Robbie Henshaw coming in at 13 and pairing up with the uncapped Stuart McCloskey.

Skills coach Richie Murphy revealed that Payne had come through an individual session with the medical staff and should be in contention for selection in the build-up to facing the Azzurri.

Murphy said: “Jared Payne did a full session today, not with the team, but with the fitness guys and medics.

"He came through that fine and it looks like he’ll be fully fit to start next week.”

Murphy added that there were no more injury concerns stemming from last Saturday's game, stating that Conor Murray would be on track to play after having received stitches for the cut on his eyelid that he sustained from Mike Brown's boot in the second half.

“Everyone else is fine. Conor’s got a split in his eye. He’s got eight stitches," Murphy added.

"He’s grand – he was lucky obviously, but it’s right in the corner of the eye. He’ll be ready for next week.

“He didn’t train today. He’s a little bit bumped up, he got a bit of treatment in that game. Everyone else came through fine.”

Ireland, the 2015 champions, will go into next week searching for their first win following a draw with Wales and losses to France and England.