Ireland cautious on Sexton return

Ireland team manager Paul Dean has stressed they won't rush fly-half Jonathan Sexton back into action until they are convinced he is fine.

With Sexton ruled out, Paddy Jackson started the Six Nations opener against Scotland and scored a try in their 27-22 loss at Murrayfield.

It appears that Sexton may be fit to return from his calf injury in the near future, however Dean is wary not to rush the Leinster number ten.

"Johnny's continuing his rehab and his progress will be monitored across the week but he's back running which is very positive," he revealed.

"As you well know, Johnny would play today if we'd let him but we have to monitor his recovery and make sure he's fine."

In other injury news ahead of their clash with Italy, flanker Peter O'Mahony is another player closing in on a possible return to rugby.

"It's hard to tell, but we have to manage them and make sure," Dean continued.

"They'd both play tomorrow, they'd play today. But we just have to make sure that they are ready."