Jonathan Sexton has won 17 of his 30 RBS 6 Nations games
Joe Schmidt revealed that talisman fly-half Jonathan Sexton is on track to recover from injury in time for Ireland's pivotal RBS 6 Nations clash with France in round three.
"If he completes training on Tuesday, we know that he's set to go."
Ireland sit second in the RBS 6 Nations following an emphatic 63-10 win over Italy in Rome, but after losing 27-22 to Scotland at BT Murrayfield on the opening weekend, a win over France is more or less essential to maintain their Championship hopes.
Paddy Jackson has started both games at No.10, but Sexton has a superb record in his 30 RBS 6 Nations appearances and Schmidt said the Leinster playmaker was fulfilling all the necessary training parameters ahead of Les Bleus' visit.
"He's hitting all his markers, he ran well today," said Schmidt. "It's an incremental thing, as long as you keep hitting your markers.
"So he did some high-speed running today, he'll do some volume running over the weekend, and then he should be fit to go in and out of training on Monday and then train fully on Tuesday.
"Those are the markers he's got to hit and he's hit them comfortably so far. We're not trying to over-accelerate that, we're being a little bit cautious and, therefore, we'll know by Thursday. If he completes training on Tuesday, we know that he's set to go."
With Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony, Andrew Trimble and Rob Kearney all injury concerns, Schmidt said they were progressing nicely, while Rory Best - who missed the Italian clash through illness - is back in full training.
"There's a small amount of uncertainty around Iain Henderson and Peter O'Mahony, but now that they've trained fully and the nature of training today, we'd be really super-confident that they are set to go," the 51-year-old explained.
"They both trained really well. Andrew Trimble trained really well today as well, so we are starting to get those guys back. Johnny is maybe three or four days behind them, that's all. We'd be very hopeful that we'll get that as well."
The 2017 RBS 6 Nations was watched by record numbers of fans
29 March 2017, 12:25pm
After an enthralling RBS 6 Nations Championship of twists, turns, and no small amount of drama on the last day, figures show the RBS 6 Nations is going from strength to strength, year on year, with no sign of slowing down.