Six Nations 2016: Sexton injury worries for Ireland opener ease

Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton missed Ireland's Six Nations opener against Italy last year after being stood down from all rugby for 12 weeks
RBS Six Nations
Dates: Saturday, 6 February - Saturday, 19 March
Coverage: Live coverage of eight games on BBC One and BBC One HD. Minute-by-minute coverage of all the home nations' games on BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra, and across the BBC's digital platforms.

Jonathan Sexton's prospects of being fit for Ireland's Six Nations opener against Wales appear to have improved.

The fly-half suffered a head injury in Leinster's Champions Cup defeat by Wasps on Saturday but has joined up with the Ireland squad at Carton House.

Sexton, 30, has passed two of the three return-to-play protocols and is set to complete the third on Tuesday.

Leinster prop Marty Moore has been ruled out of the Six Nations after sustaining a grade 2 hamstring tear.

The front row limped out of the fray against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena just after the hour mark and will be out of action for six to eight weeks.

With first-choice prop Mike Ross in a fitness battle and likely to miss the start of the tournament due to his own hamstring injury, Connacht's Finlay Bealham has been drafted in as cover.

Ross and Cian Healy are being monitored by the Leinster medical staff, but are thought to be a couple of weeks away from a return.

Robbie Henshaw suffered no ill-effects after starring for Connacht at the weekend, the centre having not played since breaking his hand in November.

Clash of heads with former Leinster team-mate

Sexton was forced to come off after eight minutes of Leinster's record 51-10 reverse at the hands of quarter-finalists Wasps after a clash of heads with former Leinster team-mate Brendan Macken.

He subsequently passed two head injury assessments.

The ex-Racing Metro number 10 is regarded as a pivotal figure in the Ireland team as they attempt to win a third consecutive Six Nations crown.

They begin their campaign against Wales in Dublin on 7 February.

Sexton missed Ireland's Six Nations opener against Italy last year after being stood down from all rugby for 12 weeks after a series of concussions in a short space of time.

His World Cup campaign was cut short with an adductor muscle injury sustained in the pool win over France, which led him to miss the quarter-final defeat by Argentina.

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