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Johnny Sexton a

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Johnny Sexton a "frustrated" spectator at Ireland training session in Limerick


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Johnny Sexton continued to nurse a thumb injury at Ireland's open training session at Thomond Park today.

The out-half didn't take part in any of the team drills with the coaching team continuing to ease him back following a strain suffered last month.

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby says the Leinster out-half is chomping at the bit to return to full contact training.

“Johnny sat out with his thumb and he’s a frustrated watcher, like most of the players are.

“All pretty good. There are obviously times when players need to be managed a little bit, whether they have niggles or just off the back of last season. But, on the whole, everyone is working really hard and it’s a good group to be around at the moment.”

Josh van der Flier, Tadhg Beirne, Rory Best and Will Addison also trained away from the main group while Munster wing Keith Earls sat out the session.

“There’s a heavy workload through the week and sometimes players just need to be managed through a session like that," Easterby said of the players carrying knocks.

“If they haven’t done the pitch session, they’ll always do something slightly different but no less easy.

"Will came off the back of that back operation last season. He has put in a good bit of work since he has come into camp. Same with other players, Josh being one of them.

While Earls workload is being managed.

“Yeah, again, not many fitter men in the squad but Earlsy would certainly be one of those that might need to be managed at certain times.

"Again, he’s worked, like all the others have who didn’t work today, incredibly hard in the week and in the last four weeks that we’ve been together. So, there’s no issue.

“We’ve 45 players in the squad and the way the players have gone over the last few weeks, they’re making it incredibly hard on us to whittle them down. It’s going to be tough as they’re all working really hard together and working hard for each other on the pitch.

“They’re also enjoying time away from the pitch and enjoying, I guess the build-up. Just around the corner is Italy and then things start to become tougher in terms of us having to make some decisions on selection and who out of the squad gets those opportunities to perform over the August period.”

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