Hugo Keenan backing himself to feature in England clash

Hugo Keenan backing himself to feature in England clash

Ireland and Leinster star Hugo Keenan believes that he will be fit for the clash against England at Twickenham next weekend.

Keenan missed the win over Wales in Dublin because of an injury picked up in the Round 2 win over Italy. He is facing a race against time to play in southwest London on March 9.

The Leinster fullback admits he is frustrated with the rehab process but also acknowledges that the process is going well.

"Rehab's progressing well, so that's the plan, hoping to get back for England," he said at a media event for Energia this week.

"I've been working hard; I've been rehabbing the last day or two as well while the rest of the squad's been off, so it's always the annoying side of it; you don't really get your days off. I'm happy with how it's coming along and progressing well.

Keenan had hoped to be back for the Welsh tie but missed out. He now hopes that he only misses just one tie instead of two or three in the run-in for another Grand Slam.

Hugo Keenan of Ireland. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

"I suppose the injury happened in the Italy game, and four weeks from that would be the England game.

“I was trying to get back for the Wales match. It was just a week or two too early. We sort of treated it—since we’ve known I’d be out—as a four-week injury.

“There was no point rushing me straight back into something I’m not ready for.

"So, I’m hoping to build up the load over the next 10 or 12 days leading up to it to get right for that one, so yeah, you don’t enjoy the time on the sidelines, but hopefully it will be a case where I just miss one."

Because of injuries to the likes of Keenan, Mack Hansen, and Jimmy O'Brien, Ciaran Frawley, his Leinster teammate, came in and performed admirably at fullback. It is expected that if Keenan is fit, he will return to the role that has made him a worldwide name in rugby. However, Keenan has praised Frawley for his display in the gutsy win over Wales and said he was delighted for him in the win in Dublin.

"I thought he [Frawley] went very well, didn't he? It was great to see it. I don't think anyone had any doubts about him; he's an incredible footballer; we've all seen it for Leinster, and the small bits show that he's got a chance with a green jersey as well.

"He's got a bit more time at 15, and I think there were probably a few question marks around who would play there with Jimmy [O'Brien] and Mack [Hansen] out, but we were all very confident in him. It was great for him to get settled in early and give it a try as well. I was delighted for him."