Garry Ringrose is ready to transfer his attacking “havoc” from the training field to Ireland’s NatWest 6 Nations Grand Slam bid, according to Keith Earls.
Ringrose is expected to ease Ireland’s midfield injury glut by starting Saturday’s crucial clash with Scotland in Dublin, having hit full fitness following a January ankle injury.
The Leinster centre could partner Bundee Aki to offset long-term injuries to Robbie Henshaw and Chris Farrell, as Ireland chase a fourth-straight Six Nations victory at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland expect British and Irish Lions duo Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson to be fit to start against the Scots, with Munster flyer Earls admitting he faces the “biggest week” of his Test career.
“Ringer’s been in here for the last couple of years, we all know how good he’s been,” said Earls of Ringrose.
“He’s been training the last two weeks with us and it doesn’t look like he’s been out long. He’s still sharp, he’s been causing havoc.
“Look, we’ve been unfortunate to lose Robbie (Henshaw) and Chris (Farrell). They’re two world-class players, but we’ve another world-class player coming in so we’ve been quite blessed the last couple of seasons with 13s and centres after Drico (Brian O’Driscoll).
“Before I would have had to step in a few times, or someone else would have had to step in, but we’ve got out-and-out 13s in depth now, which is great.
“I am not even looking past Scotland; it is the biggest week of my Irish career, yeah.
“It is a massive match for us and the pressure of playing in the Aviva; we have a good record there but the Scots are on a high at the moment.”
Henshaw may not play again this season after dislocating a shoulder in Ireland’s 56-19 win over Italy in the Six Nations’ second round.
Farrell suffered knee ligament damage in Ireland’s open training session last week, having impressed in the 37-27 win over Wales the previous weekend.
Earls has hit prime form amid Ireland’s bid for a third Six Nations title in five years, admitting that aged 30 he is enjoying his career more than ever.
The Munster stalwart also revealed he has been working with Irish hypnotist and magician Keith Barry in a bid to boost his performances.
“The last 18 months is probably the most I have enjoyed rugby since I was about 13 years of age,” said Earls.
“When you’re enjoying something and it doesn’t seem like work you enjoy it a lot more. It’s what a lot of us do. It is our job, but we think it is everything, which it isn’t.
“I have been relaxing a bit as well. As I am getting older I am trying to find the one per cents between diet and stuff, the psychology and the visualisation; I have been working a bit with Keith Barry as well, just trying to get them one per cents, which seems to be working.
“I don’t want to get into the detail but he knows the brain better than anyone and just in terms of visualisation and stuff like that.”