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Published: 09:33 | 1/3/16

Eight stitches for Murray

Conor Murray is expected to be available for Ireland's RBS Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday week despite suffering a facial injury in the defeat to England.

Murray required stitches after Mike Brown's boot came into contact with his face during a second-half ruck at Twickenham, but head coach Joe Schmidt is confident he will be ready for the visit of Italy to the Aviva Stadium.

"The good news with Conor is there is no damage to the actual eye, which is what we feared at the time," Schmidt said.

"He has got eight stitches in the corner of the eye, but hopefully will be back training tomorrow without contact. His eye is closed over with the inflammation and bruising, but there is nothing too damaging there apart from the sutures."

Jared Payne missed Saturday's defeat due to a hamstring injury but he is expected to take part in Tuesday's training session at Carton House.

Jared Payne was back running today and is expected to train fully tomorrow," Schmidt stated.

With Ireland not due to play until next week, Schmidt has revealed that a number of players will be released back to their respective provinces for the weekend.

"Some of the players will go back to play for their provinces. The provinces are in tight spots in the Pro12 so they'll go back and get some game-time," he confirmed.

"There will be about 12 of the squad that will turn out that were involved at the weekend, a number of guys off the bench.

"That will be another opportunity for them to get game-fit because some of the guys who have come back into the squad, even the starting team, haven't had much game-time.

"We felt we were maybe a couple of runs short. This gives us an opportunity to get a little bit more time under their belts and hopefully that will pay dividends."

Best not in favour of Six Nations changes

09:18 | 24/5/17

Rory Best has added his voice to those against the proposal to reduce the Six Nations to five weeks.

Gatland: Latecomers will be at a disadvantage

09:28 | 23/5/17

Latecomers will be playing catch-up when they link-up with the rest of the British and Irish Lions squad early next week, head coach Warren Gatland has warned.

Ross and Madigan in Barbarians squad

11:59 | 23/5/17

Mike Ross and Ian Madigan have been called into the Barbarians squad for the games against England and Ulster.

Injury concerns ease for Munster

14:47 | 22/5/17

Munster expect to be at full strength for Saturday's Guinness PRO12 final against the Scarlets.

Vunipola withdraws from Lions squad

08:54 | 22/5/17

Billy Vunipola has been forced to withdraw from the British and Irish Lions squad for the upcoming tour to New Zealand due to a shoulder injury.

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