Schmidt to give Healy until deadline

Date published: August 2 2015

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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has conceded that a decision on picking Cian Healy for the World Cup will go down to the wire.

Healy is making progress according to the Schmidt and could face England in the final warm-up match on September 5.

What's clear is that while Healy's exact return is unknown, Ireland are giving their star prop every chance to make the final cut.

"The actual nerve is in good shape and the pressure is bring released off it but it takes a while to recover," Schmidt told the Irish Independent.

"How long's a piece of string? We know he's making progress. He's a quality individual in the camp, and a quality player, so we'll give him as long as we can to make enough progress so we're comfortable he can reintegrate fully into playing the game.

"Potentially we'd like to get him into one of the last couple (of warm-ups) and there's a chance of that. If he's made enough progress and is training fully but hasn't played prior to England, and we don't select him for that, then we've got a tough decision to make.

"But if he was fully fit at that stage? Because he's played so many times for us already, and because he's a quality player, you'd want to select him. We won't actually know until the 31 whether he'll be in it or not."

Schmidt added that he has been impressed by Michael Bent, the former Hurricanes prop now in his third season in Ireland who found his best form last season.

"At the moment, after the five weeks he's put in, he's really strong," added Schmidt.

"I think that foundation will be really good for him. When he turned up in Ireland first it was on the back of a Super Rugby season and his introduction was a bit muddled between two things. I think he found his feet last season and has consolidated that (now) with a pre-season."

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