Ireland blow as injured fly-half Joey Carbery is ruled out of Japan tests
Ireland have been a dealt a major injury blow ahead of their two-Test series against Japan with fly-half Joey Carbery returning home due to an ankle injury.
The Leinster youngster started Ireland's 55-19 victory over the USA in New Jersey on Saturday but left the action in the 50th minute after rolling his ankle.
Speaking at Ireland's base in Tokyo on Tuesday, skills coach Richie Murphy confirmed the 21-year-old had returned home for further treatment.
"Joey's gone home," said Murphy.
"He has an ankle injury which will keep him out for about four to six weeks.
"He didn't travel to Japan. We sent him home from America."
Carbery underwent a scan on the injury and Murphy confirmed that he is facing at least a month out of action.
"He did get a scan. As far as I know it's a either a grade two or a grade three ankle sprain but he's going to be off his feet for a couple of weeks," Murphy added.
"They (medical staff) say he'll be ready to train in four to five weeks time."
Ireland will not be calling up a replacement number 10 with Ulster star Paddy Jackson, who did not travel to the US for personal reasons, linking up with the squad on Monday while Munster centre Rory Scannell is set to deputise as a back-up fly-half over the next two weeks.
"We're not bringing out a replacement at the moment," said Murphy, who revealed Ireland have no other significant injury concerns following the weekend.
"Paddy is here with the squad now. The rest of them have come through the game. There was a couple of knocks.
"Tiernan (O'Halloran) was cramping up late on in the game, but there was nothing to worry about. All the players are fit and went through the walk-through this morning.
"So, we've no other injury worries at the moment."
Following their nine-try demolition of the Eagles at Red Bull Arena, Ireland are expecting a much tougher examination from Japan over the next fortnight.
Ireland face Jamie Joseph's side at Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka on Saturday before a rematch at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium seven days later.
With the likes of Waikato Chiefs flanker Michael Leitch, Melbourne Rebels number eight Amanaki Mafi and Sunwolves scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka in the Japan squad, Joe Schmidt's men are set to be pushed to the limit by the home side, who they will face again at the 2019 World Cup as pool opponents.
"They will be very tough," added Murphy.
"Japan have turned themselves into a very good side. They play very fast and loose and will look to go from quick tap penalties and quick lineouts.
"They have got some really good players in Fumiaki Tanaka, Yu Tamura and Timothy Lafaele in the backs. In the forwards, Amanaki Mafi is a bit of a freak of nature. He has been a standout player in Super Rugby (this season) and there's Michael Leitch as well.
"They have got some really top class players and they are really an up and coming nation."