Keith Earls has become a doubt for Ireland's Six Nations clash with England in Dublin on Saturday due to a groin injury.
Earls sat out training on Tuesday, leaving Ulster's Jared Payne ready to step into Ireland's backline if the Munster flyer cannot recover.
Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek backed Earls to return to training on Thursday, but boss Joe Schmidt usually wants his starting squad to complete the Tuesday session before a Saturday match.
Feek insisted Ireland's galling 22-9 loss in Wales will not derail head coach Schmidt's approach, with England hunting a second-successive grand slam and world-record 19th consecutive win at the Aviva Stadium.
Six Nations team of the weekend - round four
Six Nations team of the weekend - round four
1/15 15. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
The full-back flourished in bringing George North into the game as he repeatedly joined the back line to give Wales an extra man in attack. He tackled well, with a memorable stop on Rob Kearney halting an Irish attack in full flow. Has put himself back into the running for the Lions berth.
2/15 14. George North (Wales)
Back to his devastating best with two tries this week. His first was a brutal display of power as he carried both Simon Zebo and Keith Earls over the try line to score, while his second was the result of a great drive from the Welsh pack. A mazy run towards the end of the victory over Ireland triggered one last attack as his side searched in vain for the bonus point.
3/15 13. Jonathan Joseph (England)
A brilliant performance provided a timely reminder of what he is capable of. Three tries, each of differing styles, paved the way for England’s stunning 61-21 victory over Scotland. The first try saw Joseph display his pace and power, the second one came from dazzling footwork and the third saw him cut a lovely inside line to break cleanly from short range.
4/15 12. Owen Farrell (England)
After his horror show against Italy, Farrell was back to his best again to convert all but one of his kicks at goal – the one he missed was from his own half – and he was much smarter with his kicking to touch following the errors that littered his display a fortnight ago. Brought Joseph into the attack superbly, and finished the game at 10 once more.
5/15 11. Virimi Vakatawa (France)
A great week for the French wing as he scored a devastating try that put Italy out of the game and racked up more metres than anyone else this week, making an average of more than 10m per break. He beat eight defenders and made four clean breaks, and provided a display that proved just what a dangerous open-field runner he can be.
6/15 10. George Ford (England)
Ford was able to take the fight to Scotland with the pack providing him with front-foot ball to work with. The fly-half linked up superbly with Farrell outside him, and also brought his three-quarters into the game with devastating results.
7/15 9. Rhys Webb (Wales)
A strong performance from Webb saw him create the first try for North with a smart supporting run to take an offload from Scott Williams and release a beautiful wide pass for Halfpenny to run on to. He was alert in defence and got the better of Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray in their battle for the Lions No 9 shirt.
8/15 1. Rob Evans (Wales)
A strong performance from the loosehead against an Irish scrum that until now had gotten the better of all its opponents. Carried multiple times, albeit with little success, but that took its toll on the Irish defence as it tired.
9/15 2. Guilhem Guirado (France)
The standout hooker this week as the French captain led by example, making an impressive 31 metres with the ball in hand and 11 tackles in defence, not to mention sealing a turnover in the process.
10/15 3. Rabah Slimani (France)
Joins his skipper in the front row after displacing Uini Atonio in the side and delivering much better performances. An impressive showing in the loose.
11/15 4. Joe Launchbury (England)
A candidate for player of the tournament. Launchbury has excelled on his return to the Test fold, and he once again led by example as he made a phenomenal 22 tackles against Scotland, as well as enjoying success with the ball in hand.
12/15 5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
Return to form this week as he put his body on the line, making 18 tackles and 14 carries. He also disrupted the Irish lineout, stealing one throw on his own 5m line, but his best performance came in terms of his decision-making as he got all the big calls right.
13/15 6. Sam Warburton (Wales)
A brilliant performance in defence saw Warburton set the tone for Wales’s physical dominance over Ireland. He made more tackles than anyone else on the pitch in Cardiff, and he looks to be suited to not having the burden of the captaincy hanging over him.
14/15 7. Kevin Gourdon (France)
France have found their natural replacement for Thierry Dusautoir as Gourdon once again displayed his talents in the win over Italy. He carried well for more than 50 metres, and did his job in defence to slow down the Italian attack at the breakdown.
15/15 8. Nathan Hughes (England)
Scotland made the mistake of not double-marking him, and he ran riot as a result. The Wasps No 8 appeared to send out a message that the returning Billy Vunipola would not be taking his shirt easily, and made an impressive 74 metres from 11 carries.
"Keith Earls has slight groin tightness," said Feek.
"He'll be training on Thursday, we're just giving him an extra bit of time.
"Johnny (Sexton) and Conor (Murray) trained today. They were pretty good, they got through it.
"With Jared, you've got to look at the weekend, where he would slot in, how he's tracking physically and where he is with everything else.
"He's a great guy to have even just in camp, let alone out on the field.
"We'll just wait and see. There's a few guys there with a few bumps.
"He's always an option, and if he's fully fit and things like that, then that would be even more of a headache."
Earls has proved one of Schmidt's most trusted backline operators, becoming a regular feature on Ireland's wing.
The 29-year-old's possible absence could open the door for a return for Payne, who has only just recovered from kidney damage suffered in November.
Ireland will fight to avoid defeat to all three home nations rivals in one championship for the first time since 1998, following their comprehensive loss in Wales.
The Welsh refused to panic after consecutive losses to England and Scotland to pull off their gritty win over Ireland, and Feek hinted Schmidt's men will seek out something similar this Saturday.
Feek insisted Ireland do not need a drastic revamp of either personnel or approach to push England to the limit in Dublin.
"We were disappointed in Cardiff, and I think there's an emotional effect afterwards, a mental and physical fatigue," said Feek.
"But I think the players certainly emptied the tank massively.
"There were errors and some of those errors maybe compounded by some good Welsh defence.
"But also maybe from ourselves as well, just maybe choosing the wrong option, passing when we weren't supposed to, or not quite getting round the corner on defence, or maybe not winning the position when we needed to.
"We're all aware of that and we're trying hard not to do that.
"Sometimes with players and selections if that's what you're alluding to, they can learn from that and we've got to back them.
"So it's not something that we're going to suddenly change our philosophy in terms of how we play or who's in there, massively."Reuse content