Ireland have issues ahead of team naming

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    26 Oct 2016     Getty Images

There had been concern over first five-eighths Johnny Sexton after he had suffered a hamstring injury, but he played at the weekend against Montpellier for 40 minutes and showed no reaction to the injury.

Definitely out of the game, however, is tight-loose forward Iain Henderson who suffered a shoulder injury at the weekend when helping his Ulster side to a 19-18 win over Exeter in the Champions Cup.

Ulster coach said Henderson was likely to be out for two to four weeks and he could also miss the return Test in Dublin on November 19.

Another possible absentee is Keith Earls who received a red card during Munster's win over Glasgow Warriors at the weekend.

He was sent off by referee Jerome Garces for a dangerous tackle and faces a disciplinary hearing, also on Wednesday. The minimum sanction for the offence is four weeks which could rule him out of all three Tests on Ireland's schedule in November.

Meanwhile, Ireland's New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt has extended his contract with the Test side until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Since his appointment in 2013 Schmidt has helped Ireland to a 68 percent winning ratio.

Mid-field back Gordon D'Arcy said Schmidt was the most important asset for Irish rugby and 'arguably the best coach in the world'.

He told the Irish Independent that while Ireland would be 'up against it' when playing the All Blacks Schmidt couldn't be better for the side.

"We are the underdog, whether we are suited to being the underdog doesn't matter, but it's two different camps, where you've got one team talking about legacy and talking about being the greatest team ever and you've got another team searching for their first win against the All Blacks.

"You look for advantages anyhow you can get them. And the players that played in that game [2013] will say 'Look this can be done, this isn't impossible'," he said.

Former Irish five-eighths Tony Ward said Schmidt was the best coach Ireland has ever had.

"He is not perfect, nor would he claim to be. He is a perfectionist though. He is an excellent communicator with a good sense of humour and a public persona which reflects well on the governing body and its game, but behind that exterior is a ruthless determination to succeed," he said.