(Reuters) - Johnny Sexton is in contention to return to the Ireland team in Saturday's Six Nations match against Italy in Rome after being sidelined through injury for the opener in Scotland.
Ireland team manager Paul Dean said on Monday that the British and Irish Lions fly-half, who has been suffering from a calf problem, was back running and would be monitored through the week.
Sexton's influence as the best number 10 in the championship was missed by the Irish at Murrayfield on Saturday as they succumbed to a surprise 27-22 defeat.
Dean confirmed that the team's arrival at the ground on Saturday was delayed after Scottish police diverted their coach en route from the team hotel.
"We took a different route, enforced by the police. The circumstances were out of our control but we don't feel it contributed to the performance on the day," he said.
Centre Robbie Henshaw was adamant that Ireland, who ended world champions New Zealand's long winning streak in the November internationals, could still win the title.
"People are talking about bonus points this weekend, we just need to get the win," Henshaw told reporters.
"There is confidence we can still win the championship based on what we did in November. This is an incredible group and we know we can still win it.
"There is more pressure on us and the squad may not be used to it but, hopefully, it can get the best out of us."
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Robin Pomeroy