Six Nations 2018: Ireland hopeful Henderson & Furlong will be fit to face Wales

Iain Henderson (left) and Tadhg Furlong (right) battle with France's Sebastien Vahaamahina in the Six Nations game earlier this month
Andy Farrell expects Henderson (left) and Furlong (right) to be fit for Saturday's game against Wales
Six Nations: Ireland v Wales
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 24 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Ulster FM, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell is optimistic Iain Henderson and Tadhg Furlong will be fit for Saturday's Six Nations game against Wales.

Both Lions forwards sustained hamstring injuries in the win over Italy with prop Furlong coming off early on and lock Henderson replaced at half-time.

"Iain, a bit like Tadhg, is hitting his markers," said Farrell.

Neither took part in full contact training on Tuesday - unlike lock James Ryan who looks certain to be available.

Henderson 'pushing in the right direction'

Leinster youngster Ryan impressed on his Six Nations debut in Ireland's opening win over France but was not considered for the game against Italy because of a minor groin strain as Joe Schmidt recalled Devin Toner to partner Henderson.

Speaking about Henderson, Farrell added: "He's pushing in the right direction and we'll assess how he is after two more days hard training."

Ireland coach Schmidt normally demands that his players take a full part in training on the Tuesday of a Test week but he has relaxed that policy on previous occasions.

Leinster prop Furlong has quickly emerged as the cornerstone of Ireland's scrummage in his 21 caps while Henderson had an impressive Lions tour in New Zealand despite not playing in any of the Tests.

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Andy Farrell: Wales game is 'like a cup final'

Farrell impressed by Ringrose sharpness

After being drafted into the Ireland squad as replacement for injured Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose took a full part in training on Tuesday and Farrell was impressed with the 11-cap centre's sharpness.

"Garry is looking great, in great nick and it's great to have him back," he said.

Ringrose, 23, has been out of action for the past six weeks but could challenge Munster's Chris Farrell for the number 13 jersey.

Henshaw will be out of action for up to four months after injuring his shoulder in the act of scoring a try against the Italians on 10 February.

Ulster scrum-half John Cooney and Munster hooker Niall Scannell were also drafted into the Ireland squad on Monday as replacements for injured duo Luke McGrath and Rob Herring.

Cooney, who has one cap, looks unlikely to be named in Saturday's match-day squad with Connacht's Kieran Marmion expected to be replacement scrum-half.

However, Scannell could challenge Leinster's Sean Cronin for the reserve hooker role.

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