Ireland sweat on centre pair

IRELAND are giving injured centres Gordon D’Arcy and Keith Earls maximum time to prove their fitness for Sunday’s RBS Six Nations visit of England.

D’Arcy suffered a dead leg and Earls a shoulder problem during Saturday’s 30-22 victory in Wales, and team manager Mick Kearney admitted both were still recuperating.

“Gordon suffered a nasty dead leg but is recovering better than we expected. The prognosis is still guarded but we are more hopeful than we were yesterday,” he said.

“Keith took a blow to his left shoulder that was quite sore. The prognosis is guarded. He will do modified training today and tomorrow and will be reviewed by a specialist tomorrow.”

Scotland are set to hand uncapped back-row forward Robert Harley his Test debut in Saturday’s Six Nations clash with buoyant Italy.

Harley, 22, replaces injured Glasgow colleague Alasdair Strokosch for the fixture at Murrayfield, while head coach Scott Johnson’s other enforced change sees Ross Ford come in for Dougie Hall, who limped off in Saturday’s defeat against England.