Monday 18 December 2017

Schmidt facing injury crisis

WITH the Autumn Internationals over, Leinster coach Joe Schmidt is left to pick up the pieces after a disastrous couple of weeks for the province on the injury front, WRITES Donnchadh Boyle.

His options in the backs have been decimated, with Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald and Brian O'Driscoll picking up injuries on international duty and starlet Andrew Conway forced off during last night's Magners League defeat to the Ospreys. Conway was taken from the field on a stretcher wearing a neck brace, though the Kiwi played down the seriousness of the injury.

"It didn't look too bad," said Schmidt. "There was no contact when he got injured -- he hit the ground with his shoulder and it looked like a whiplash injury. The medics will sort him out and hopefully he will be okay."

Leinster have a hectic schedule coming up. They return to Wales in five days' time for a clash with second-placed Scarlets and then face back-to-back games in the Heineken Cup with Schmidt's old side Clermont Auvergne.

"Some guys are definitely going to need a rest after playing four Tests in a row and we also have to have an eye on Heineken Cup time," he said.

Despite losing ground on the league leaders, Schmidt heaped praise on his side: "I was really proud of the way the players played. There was some real youth out there with a first start for Jason Harris-Wright, who came through it really well. They got the penalty try when we were down to 13 men, but we created two really good ones, so there is some amount of respect we can take away from that game."

Irish Independent

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