Saturday 3 December 2016

VIDEO: Joe Schmidt confirms Ireland had 'fears' over Conor Murray's eye injury

Published 29/02/2016 | 16:41

A dejected Conor Murray, Ireland, leaves the pitch after the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, England v Ireland. Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London, England. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
A dejected Conor Murray, Ireland, leaves the pitch after the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, England v Ireland. Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London, England. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Joe Schmidt has revealed that Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray received eight stitches to the corner of his eye in Saturday's defeat to England, but did not damage the eye itself.

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England full-back Mike Brown has escaped any punishment for his part in the incident that saw Murray injured. The Harlequins star's boot made contact with the scrum-half's face several times as he attempted to kick the ball out of the ruck.

Despite the injury, Murray is set to be fit to play Italy on Saturday week as is Jared Payne who is due to return to training tomorrow.

"Conor's got eight stitches in the corner of his eye, there was some fear that there was damage to his eye but there's not, thankfully," Schmidt said.

"He didn't come back on, but on a good news front, Jared Payne is looking to train today and train fully tomorrow. We've got guys filtering back in instead of going the other direction which it has been."

Ireland's camp is on early this week to allow a number of players, including Robbie Henshaw, play for their provinces this weekend according to Schmidt.

"We'll try and give guys two or three days off, a number of guys will return to their provinces. The provinces are in tight spots in the Pro12 placement at the moment," Schmidt said. 

"Twelve of the squad that were involved in the weekend will turn out, a number of guys from the bench and then we want to get some guys more game-fit.A number of guys coming into the squad, even the starting team, haven't really had that much game-time. We just felt they were a little bit short and hopefully this will pay dividends in those last two Six Nations games."

Reflecting on the 21-10 defeat at Twickenham, Schmidt added: "It's a tough place to go but we felt that if we could tough it out and be in the mix at the finish that there would be a chance.

"I think we are really disappointed with the two scores they did get.

"They are a team, that if you allow them to play with tempo, with some super players and we did find it difficult to contain them at times.

"Defensively, we can't afford to be passive, we can't afford to wait for things to happen. We've really go to be as competitive as we can and as combative as we can on that side of the ball.

"We've got some disappointments about not finishing a couple of plays ourselves. One, we felt we were unlucky with the call and one, we didn't quite get close enough."

There were positives to be drawn from the game including the performances of debutants Josh van der Flier, Stuart McCloskey and Ultan Dillane.

"They've looked back at the game, we've had a chat and they've got some things to work on and they've got some things that they contributed incredibly well.

"Josh grew into the game and got better as teh game went on. Stu carried well and is learning every time that he comes to training. he got a heck of a lot out of that Twickenham game.

"Dillane, in the 15 minutes that he got, made a super impact. The lineout steal and making a very good linebreak as well. It was frustrating that it was one of those things we didn't get to finish off the back of."

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