Monday 10 December 2018

Leinster confirm Sexton failed HIA

Province clear up confusion surrounding Ireland out-half's fitness after head injury

Leinster's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster have confirmed that Johnny Sexton did in fact fail his Head Injury Assessment (HIA) against Exeter Chiefs last weekend, despite Joe Schmidt being led to believe that he hadn't.

Speaking after Leinster's win on Saturday evening, the Ireland coach said on national television that the out-half had passed his HIA and confusion has since surrounded Sexton's fitness.

Sexton was forced off after just two minutes of the Champions Cup victory and did not return to the pitch. Leinster have since moved to clarify the situation.

"He passed his HIA, he's okay. I spoke to him this evening, he's fine," Schmidt said.

Leinster however confirmed that was not the case, as a spokesman commented:

"Leinster Rugby is happy to clarify that Johnny Sexton failed HIA 1 and is currently following return-to-play protocols."

The Irish Independent contacted the IRFU to seek clarification about Schmidt's remarks but the union declined to comment.

The 32-year-old has a history of head injuries and was unlikely to feature in the St Stephen's Day derby clash against Munster anyway, but he hasn't officially been ruled out yet as he follows the normal return-to-play procedures.

Sexton is required to go through a series of tests this week, which will take a minimum six days.

If he comes through each stage without presenting any concussive symptoms, he will be passed fit to play.

Seán O'Brien, meanwhile, will miss the trip to Thomond Park as he recovers from a "few knocks" picked up in the double-header against Exeter.

"Non-specific knocks I would describe them as," Stuart Lancaster said.

"At the end of the day he has played two massive games back-to-back and you could see he was struggling in the second half so it's not something we'd be concerned about.

"But he's a player we have to look after. He's a top-quality player.

"We're not going to consider him for this week but it's not a big injury crisis for Seán, that's for sure."

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