Saturday 10 December 2016

Matt O'Connor tight-lipped on Schmidt criticism as Cian Healy's World Cup in doubt with neck injury

Rugby

Published 08/05/2015 | 02:30

Loosehead prop Cian Healy, who has had his fair share of player availability issues this season, but mainly due to injury, may miss the rest of the season (SPORTSFILE)
Loosehead prop Cian Healy, who has had his fair share of player availability issues this season, but mainly due to injury, may miss the rest of the season (SPORTSFILE)

Leinster coach Matt O'Connor has claimed that there have been no discussions between him and the IRFU concerning player welfare, despite public criticism from both Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and David Nucifora.

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O'Connor has called for the IRFU's player welfare system, where players are restricted from playing a certain number of Pro12 games, to be restructured and said that whether the "debate has been two-way is debatable".

However, despite being publicly carpeted by both Schmidt and Nucifora last month, O'Connor yesterday asserted that he had not yet been party to any discussions on an issue that has pitted club versus country.

"We haven't had any of those discussions recently and we'll probably save those until the end of the season," was O'Connor's response when asked to divulge the details of what is believed to have been a private meeting between the parties.

Asked about the IRFU's incendiary responses in the public domain, O'Connor dead-batted: "I haven't had the chance to look at those. I'll probably concentrate on the next two games and come back to it after that.

"We'll have to come back to that at the end of the season. We'll sit down and we'll review it and we'll talk about it then."

Meanwhile, loosehead prop Cian Healy, who has had his fair share of player availability issues this season, but mainly due to injury, may miss the rest of the season.

O'Connor said the province will investigate a neck problem that flared up in the aftermath of recent defeats to Toulon and Ulster.

There are growing concerns that he may have to have surgery, which could result in a long-term period of rehabilitation and curtail his preparation for the World Cup.

Irish Independent

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