Published Monday, 04 June 2012
Cian Healy is expected to be fit to face New Zealand. (© Getty)
Leinster prop Ross suffered a slight hamstring tear in the RaboDirect PRO12 final against the Ospreys on May 27, limping out of the game after just 16 minutes.
Ireland team manager Michael Kearney revealed Ross is facing an uphill battle to be fit in time to face the All Blacks at Eden Park, but Healy is ready and Sean O'Brien, the team's other injury concern, is nearing full fitness.
"Mike Ross is rehabbing from his hamstring tear. It is going well but he hasn't trained fully and remains in some doubt ahead of the weekend," Kearney said.
"Cian trained fully today and is good to go. Sean O'Brien is continuing to rehabilitate well and he accelerated his rehab this morning. We are hopeful that he will be available for selection at the weekend."
Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss believes New Zealand will be determined to re-establish Eden Park as a home fortress in their first run-out since they won the World Cup.
He said: "From the squad they picked it is going to be a fantastic series.
"We're playing the world champions - the best in the world bar none. We expect them to throw everything at us.
"They have a proud history at Eden Park. Taking on the All Blacks at any time is a tough prospect.
"I know that they are very proud at what they have achieved in Eden Park.
"I know Australia have spoken up in recent times about going there and breaking that there but [New Zealand] just keep turning up at that ground and nailing it."
Of the 30-man All Blacks squad for the three-Test series, Kiss highlighted the talents of Chiefs number seven Sam Cane and Hurricanes winger Julien Savea.
"They are hugely physical and from watching the Super Rugby over here you can see that they throw [the ball] around so it will be an open affair," he said.
Ireland scrum-half Eoin Reddan had nothing but positive words to say about New Zealand's incumbent number nine, Piri Weepu, who has not enjoyed a stellar club season with the Blues.
He pointed out it was Weepu's solid goal-kicking display that got New Zealand to last October's final against France.
Reddan said: "He handled the pressure very well in a situation where he came in and was kicking instead of Dan Carter.
"One of his biggest strengths is that he plays what he sees in front of him.
"He is quite an intelligent footballer. New Zealand have really gone to him in times of trouble, like the World Cup, and he has delivered."
The 31-year-old reckons the runs of Leinster and Ulster to the final of the Heineken Cup means a large number of the Irish side will take great confidence going into the series
He said: "It has definitely helped, being part of a successful Leinster side.
"Players are in good form and are in high spirits.
"Questions about long seasons and stuff like that evaporate into the distance when you're going well and enjoying your rugby.
"A lot of the provinces, like Ulster, have done very well and it means people have come here very fresh, looking to push on, and achieve something new this summer."