Six Nations 2015: Sam Warburton expected to be fit to face Ireland

Wales captain went off in the second half of 20-13 win over France in Paris on Saturday, but should return to training this week

Sam Warburton is on course to return to fitness for the crucial Six Nations clash against Ireland later this month.

The Wales captain sustained a knee injury in the second half of their 20-13 win against France in Paris, and was seen limping at the end of the match with ice strapped to his leg.

He will continue to be monitored by the medical team and will return to training later this week.

WRU statement

But fears that the 26-year-old could miss the big match against the defending champions in Cardiff on 14 March were allayed as Wales issued their medical bulletin.

The Cardiff Blues flanker is now expected to training later this week, while his deputy Justin Tipuric has been released from the squad to join up with his Ospreys team-mates ahead of their Guinness PRO12 clash against Munster.

“Sam suffered a contusion to his knee,” said the Wales statement.

“He will continue to be monitored by the medical team and will return to training later this week.”

Wales outside-half Dan Biggar, who scored Wales’ only try at the Stade de France, will also return to training later this week after suffering a hip injury in Paris.

The only major casualty from Warren Gatland’s squad is Paul James, who fractured his thumb after coming on late in the second half for Gethin Jenkins.

The Bath Rugby loosehead prop is expected to be out for between four and six weeks with Scarlets prop Rob Evans in line to replace him after being retained by Wales rather than released back to his region.

But Wales confirmed that 12 players have been released to their regions for round 17 of the PRO12.

Joining Tipuric in returning to the Ospreys are fellow forwards James King and Aaron Jarvis.

Cardiff Blues have been handed the biggest boost with British and Irish Lions winger Alex Cuthbert, who was dropped for the France game, joining front-row forwards Kristian Dacey and Scott Andrews, as well as outside-half Gareth Anscombe and centre Cory Allen.

Backs trio Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland and Scott Williams all return to the Scarlets while winger Hallam Amos returns to Newport Gwent Dragons.

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