Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has handed head coach Andy Farrell a massive injury boost ahead of the Six Nations, saying that he is "on track" to be fit for the team's opener against Scotland next weekend.
Fly-half Sexton, who has 88 Ireland caps to his name, has not played since hobbling off with a knee injury while playing for Leinster in a Champions Cup game against Northampton in December, but with his recovery being ahead of schedule, he hopes to be ready to face Scotland in Dublin on Feb. 1.
"Everything's gone to plan so far so it always the aim to be back for the start of the Six Nations," Sexton said at the launch event of the Six Nations. "I'm on track and if anything I'm a little bit ahead.
"Hopefully, I don't have any setbacks or anything like that over the next few days or week and I can get back training with the boys."
Sexton was appointed Ireland captain last week by new head coach Andy Farrell with Rory Best retiring after the World Cup, and the former World Rugby Player of the Year is relishing the prospect of leading his country into the first Six Nations campaign of the decade.
"It's a big honour to get the captaincy and it's not something I'm taking lightly," Sexton added. "It's a big responsibility and yeah I just have to try and be myself.
"I've learned some lessons from being in that role with Leinster in recent years and hopefully, I can take them with me into this job."