Keith Earls doubtful starter for Six Nations game against England

Keith Earls, with ball, faces a fitness battle to shake off a groin problem in time for Ireland's Six Nations clash with England
Keith Earls, with ball, faces a fitness battle to shake off a groin problem in time for Ireland's Six Nations clash with England
©PA

Munster wing Keith Earls is doubtful to feature in Ireland's final Six Nations encounter against England at Aviva Stadium on Saturday due to groin injury.

The 29-year-old missed the training on Tuesday and could make way for Jared Payne, who has recovered from a serious kidney injury, which he sustained while playing during the autumn internationals.

Payne was included in Ireland squad ahead of Wales encounter but was given more time to recover and regain match fitness leaving Garry Ringrose preferred at outside centre.

Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek revealed that Earls has been given time till Thursday to prove his fitness as Joe Schmidt's men look to avoid a defeat in all the three Triple Crown matches in one championship which last happened during 1998.

"Keith Earls has slight groin tightness," said Feek.

"He'll be training on Thursday, we're just giving him an extra bit of time.

"Johnny (Sexton) and Conor (Murray) trained today. They were pretty good, they got through it.

"With Jared, you've got to look at the weekend, where he would slot in, how he's tracking physically and where he is with everything else.

"He's a great guy to have even just in camp, let alone out on the field.

"We'll just wait and see. There's a few guys there with a few bumps.

"He's always an option, and if he's fully fit and things like that, then that would be even more of a headache."

Ireland are placed second in the table with two wins from four games and will face a rampaging England side, who are on the look out for their second successive Grand Slam title.

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