Joe Schmidt On The Fitness Of Iain Henderson & Joey Carbery For The Champions Cup

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Iain Henderson has been left out of Ireland’s squad for this weekend’s Six Nations clash with Wales after the Ulster lock picked up a knee injury in the win over France last week.

The second-row has only just returned from a hand injury in recent weeks, making his first start of the Championship in the bonus-point win over the French. But how bad is his latest setback?

“He picked it up during the game [against France]. He didn’t even realise during the game that he had it.” Joe Schmidt said

“I thought he played a super game as well.”

“It wasn’t actually until we got back to the team hot that he just felt that his knee was a bit sore. And he’s sprained it and won’t be available for us this weekend. Hopefully it won’t keep him out for too long. He’ll be back in the next few weeks all going well.”

But will Henderson be back in time for Ulster’s crucial Champions Cup quarter final with Leinster later this month?

“Look I can’t predict that future. It’s not a serious injury I don’t think. [With] a sprained knee guys come back in three weeks if he was back in three weeks he would there.” Schmidt added

“I can’t see him playing next week [in the PRO14], I certainly think that would be a week too soon. But I could potentially see him playing the week after that.”

Joey Carbery also missed out on selection once again this week for the third match running as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, but things sound a lot more positive for him in terms of being back for Munster’s Champions Cup quarter final against Edinburgh. He might even get a run out in the PRO14 next weekend to get him up to speed.

“[He’s] very close.” Schmidt said.

“The plan was definitely for Joey Carbery to be fit and able to train this week. And again he checked all his boxes as he went along. He’s incredibly close but he didn’t quite make the deadline to tick all his boxes of the return to play running volume that he need to do to make sure he was gonna be able to get through the game.”

“You can’t afford to take a risk with somebody. It’s disappointing for Joey,”