Ireland number eight Caelan Doris will travel to Birmingham this week to see a neurologist for his ongoing issues around concussion, it is understood.
oris was released from the Ireland camp last week after a full contact session with Ulster in Abbotstown, part of the squad’s preparation for today’s Six Nations opener with Wales in Cardiff.
An IRFU statement at the time said: “Caelan has flagged some symptoms that could be associated with concussion. He has returned to Leinster to allow his symptoms to be appropriately assessed and investigated.”
Doris was concussed within four minutes of his international debut last year, against Scotland, but returned to face England a fortnight later. There were no further casualties reported from the Ireland camp yesterday afternoon following their captain’s run at the Principality Stadium.
Today’s game has been framed as a must-win for Wales coach Wayne Pivac, whose only three wins since succeeding Warren Gatland have come against Italy (twice) and Georgia.
Pivac has selected the most experienced side in Welsh history, with 874 caps between them. Captain Alun Wyn Jones – on 152, between Wales and the Lions – is the most capped player in the world and he reflected on the team’s poor form stretching back a year.
“The disappointing thing was how we started the Autumn Nations Cup,” Jones said.
“We’ve spoken a lot about the opportunity that was given and in patches it came together, but the results didn’t follow. Wayne has been candid that this is the Six Nations and it’s tournament rugby. We can’t say we didn’t know it was coming or it was organised late because of Covid. We knew it was coming and we’ve prepared that way.”
When Ireland and Wales met last year, in the Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup, Andy Farrell’s side won both.
“We can talk about how well we’ve trained – I suppose every team does that – but it’s about performance now,” Farrell said.
“Starting off a competition well is key. Getting the victory in the Six Nations is key. This is a competition that everyone wants to win at the start.
“The main thing for us is about the continuity of our performance, getting all of our bits right and making sure they all come together in the right format. Having proper intent and showing our want to try and win this competition right from the get-go is key for us.”
The roof at the Principality Stadium will be open for today’s game. Unlike two years ago, when Joe Schmidt’s side were washed away in a deluge, the weather forecast is dry and cold.
In yesterday’s games Scotland caused one of the great upsets in Six Nations history with their first win in Twickenham since 1983. They survived a yellow card for playmaker Finn Russell to beat England with a huge forward effort.
A tired looking England never got to grips with the Scottish pack, led by flanker Hamish Watson. The result instals France as short-odds favourites now for the title. Earlier in the day France destroyed Italy with a brilliant, bonus-point performance in Rome.
Sunday Indo Sport