Ireland are optimistic sidelined number eight Jack Conan will be fit to feature in next weekend’s Rugby World Cup showdown with defending champions South Africa in Paris.

British and Irish Lion Conan, who suffered a foot injury in his country’s opening warm-up match with Italy, missed Saturday’s 82-8 win over Romania and will once again sit out on Saturday against Tonga in Nantes.

The 31-year-old was able to take part in basic on-field training on Wednesday morning following a series of gym sessions, raising hope of him being fit for the Springboks.

Ireland v Italy – Summer Nations Series – Aviva Stadium

Team manager Mick Kearney said: “(It was a) very good training session today and everybody came through that really well.

“Jack was out running, which was a real positive.

“While Saturday will come a little bit early for him, I think the signs are really positive in terms of being able to train fully next week, and hopefully he will be available for South Africa.”

Every other member of Andy Farrell’s 33-man squad trained fully at Ireland’s base in Tours, including centre Robbie Henshaw, who was a late withdrawal from the Romania game due to a hamstring issue, prop Dave Kilcoyne and hooker Dan Sheehan.

Asked if it was Conan’s first on-field session since arriving in France, Kearney replied: “Not since we got to Tours, but it’s his first for the last few days.

“He has been doing most of his rehab in the gym with the physios.

“Today was obviously a very big day for him in terms of getting out and running. He ran really well, it’s really positive and he was in a good place afterwards.”