Sunday 20 October 2019

Jordi Murphy's World Cup in the balance but Joe Schmidt delivers better news on Sexton, Carbery and Murray

Jordi Murphy of Ireland receives medical attention against Russia
Jordi Murphy of Ireland receives medical attention against Russia

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Kobe

Jordi Murphy's World Cup is in the balance just days after he arrived in Japan.

The back-row replaced the injured Jack Conan in the squad on Sunday and was put straight into the starting XV for tonight's 35-0 win over Russia in Kobe, but he was forced off after 28 minutes after picking up a rib problem.

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Joe Schmidt said Murphy's issue will require further assessment, but time is against the 28-year-old with just one pool game remaining against Samoa on Saturday week before a potential quarter-final against New Zealand or South Africa.

The injury presents a major problem for Schmidt who is already without Dan Leavy and Conan, with Tommy O'Donnell likely to be next in line after spending the entire pre-season with Ireland. The other option is to call up Devin Toner if Murphy gets bad news, with Tadhg Beirne able to cover the back-row.

The coach was more positive on the other injuries, saying Joey Carbery is "good" although he pulled the replacement at the 11th hour after he suffered a recurrence of his ankle problem.

Johnny Sexton's withdrawal after 40 minutes was always part of the plan, while Rob Kearney came off with a groin strain and Schmidt did not seem overly concerned about that injury.

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"Joey is good. Again, I think he would have been OK to play, but Conor Murray was very keen to play and at one stage he was going to go on at lock," Schmidt said. "He's quite tall, Conor, and Tadhg Beirne came off with cramp towards the end.

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"Conor was pretty keen, because if he came on to the pitch he wouldn't have to do the extras he's doing on the watt bike right now.

"Jordi, he's just got squeezed in the ribs. He may have popped a rib there, so we're going to get him checked out. He was pretty uncomfortable and that was disappointing because out plan was only to play him for 40 minutes and keep CJ fresh for 40 minutes as well.

"We'll see what that comes back like.

"Johnny is all good, Rob is OK and again we sort of were going to give him 50 or 60, so making the change when we did - he just felt a little bit tight in the groin and we felt it was about time to take him off anyway."

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