Irish boss Andy Farrell Optimistic, many of his cast aside stars will be fit and flaming for a tough Murrayfield showdown with their championship rivals Scotland.
The best team in the world didn’t mind the absence of a large number of first-team players to keep them on course for Guinness. Six Nations Grand Slam With a 34-20 win over Italy on Saturday.
Captain johnny sextonprop Tadhg Furlong, Lock Tadhg Beirne, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park and centers Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw were unavailable in Rome.
With Beirne knocked out for the remainder of the championship, Farrell is confident his team will receive substantial support ahead of their fourth-round visit to Edinburgh on 12 March.
When asked who would be available, the head coach replied, “He’s not far from it all. Tadhg (Furlong) is doing really well and we expected him to train on Wednesdays and Thursdays while we were at camp.
“Jamison is available, Robbie is available, so we have a good group of actors that come back when it matters.”
Furlong is yet to take part in this year’s tournament, with his hard-core Finlay Bealham injured at Stadio Olimpico, Gibson-Park and Henshaw.
While Farrell admits that the situation is far from perfect, he is confident that returning players can pick up speed quickly.
He said: “Obviously it matters because ideally you’d like it (for some play) but how many times have we done this now?
“We’ve done this over and over because it wasn’t ideal.
“But we pride ourselves on making sure our education gets people up to speed, and we’ll see how they get back to that and deal with all this.”
Ireland has dominated conflicts with Scotland over the past decade, winning 11 of the last 12 meetings.
Gregor Townsend’s men will be keen to keep themselves in the championship fight after they end their hopes for a clean sweep as they lost 32-21 to France on Sunday and have the incentive to play for the Triple Crown.
“It’s one of the hardest places to go in world rugby, and it’s hard to beat them no matter what the record there is,” Farrell said.
“They’re going to the Triple Crown – it’s going to mean a lot to them, so it should be even more important to us.”