Friday 24 February 2017

Murphy set for long spell out as All Blacks count cost

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Jordi Murphy is taken off on a stretcher during the first half of Saturday’s Test at Soldier Field, Chicago. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Jordi Murphy is taken off on a stretcher during the first half of Saturday’s Test at Soldier Field, Chicago. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jordi Murphy looks set for a significant spell on the sidelines after suffering a potentially serious knee injury during Ireland's famous win at Soldier Field.

The Leinster back-row went down after 26 minutes of the first-half as he attempted to chase a New Zealand quick throw and had to be replaced by Josh van der Flier.

Joe Schmidt said the management are awaiting scans on the 25-year-old's injury, but conceded that the initial fears are that Murphy had done significant ligament damage.

"Jordi's injury didn't look good. It looked like a reasonably serious ligament injury in the knee," the head coach said,

"We'll get scans as soon as we can organise them, we may have to actually wait. The knee's been stabilised, so we may have to wait until we get home or get it done on Sunday morning."

Johnny Sexton's withdrawal after 55 minutes was put down to cramp by the IRFU, while Tadhg Furlong also suffered the effects of a tight pitch but otherwise a clean bill of health was reported as the team flew back to Ireland last night.

Sexton was replaced by debutant Joey Carbery after twice receiving treatment for a leg injury. He handed kicking responsibility to Conor Murray before the 21-year-old took on the last two kicks of the game.

Schmidt is likely to rest his starters for next week's clash with Canada at the Aviva Stadium given New Zealand's revenge mission awaits on Saturday week.

The All Blacks will be without starting centres Ryan Crotty and George Moala for that visit.

Nasty

Moala has returned home after picking up a nasty elbow injury during the second half, while Crotty has a hamstring injury but will travel with the team and is scheduled to be available again for the final game of their tour in Paris in three weeks' time.

Seta Tamanivalu has been called up to the squad, while they remain hopeful that Brodie Retallick will be fit for the return match.

Before the two sides meet again in Dublin, Ireland take on the Canadians and Schmidt is expected to name a panel for that clash today. Sean O'Brien is in line for a return, while Paddy Jackson is available and, given Sexton's issues and Carbery's inexperience, could return.

Schmidt must decide if Peter O'Mahony and Keith Earls would be better served lining out for Munster against the Maori All Blacks on Friday given it's a tougher test and offers an extra day's recovery for the duo.

After sitting on the bench throughout the win at Soldier Field, Garry Ringrose is set for his debut as is his team-mate Luke McGrath.

It remains to be seen if the likes of Jack O'Donoghue and Dan Leavy will join them in the squad as this represents the only window for Schmidt to experiment until June.

Irish Independent

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