Wednesday 20 March 2019

Joe Schmidt confirms Johnny Sexton failed a HIA after 'stamp to the head' as he admits to being 'partially' happy with win

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is lifted off the ground after Jacob Stockdale scored his side's second try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is lifted off the ground after Jacob Stockdale scored his side's second try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt admitted that he was 'partially' happy as his side got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 13-22 success in Murrayfield this afternoon.

Ireland led 12-3 in the first half when Johnny Sexton was forced off after a succession of hits after he had offloaded the ball. His final act was sending Jacob Stockdale through for his side's second try.

The flyhalf's replacement, Joey Carbery, threw an intercept pass to Finn Russell before the interval and he set-up Sam Johnson superbly to get the hosts back into it.

Ireland were lucky to lead 10-12 at the break after spending much of the opening 40 minutes inside their own half.

Carbery atoned for his first half error with a stunning break and pass to release Keith Earls for the defining score of the game.

Schmidt confirmed to the BBC that Sexton had failed a HIA but expects him to recover quickly.

On how pleased he was with the Irish display, he said: "Partially. I think we just muscled our way through it to be honest. It wasn't the prettiest game. We got a peach of a set-piece try and we got a couple of broken field, running tries. I think we restricted them to an intercept try.

"In that first half we were in our 22 for 34pc of the time and in our half for about 72pc of the time. That was a massive defensive effort.

"(Sexton) got a bit of a stamp on the head. He got a little bit of treatment out there, He's feeling okay now, we don't think it's anything long term.

"We'd expect him to bounce back in the next few weeks.

"They are a good team who play in a really positive manner. It's one of those things that does happen if you take the ball to the line and if you are a hub of a player for us... he's going to get that attention.

"It's probably both those things."

He said after the game: “It happens to him because he is who he is, that's going to happen. He knew he was only playing 20 minutes so he jammed it all into one quarter!

“He got into a few contact situations and that position for Jacob Stockdale's pass was an example. The guy probably would have got to Stockdale if he wasn't focused on Johnny.

“He then copped a stamp. I think it was one of our guys who tripped over him. He got a cumulative knock after the first knock.

“He got a stamp on the ankle and when they treated that the medics reckoned he needed to be looked at.”

Scotland felt aggrieved at Peter O'Mahony's first half hit that ended Stuart Hogg's involvement.

"I haven't seen it to be honest. It probably wasn't discussed by the TMO because that comes through to us. It didn't seem significant to the officials anyway."

On Carbery's performance, he said: "He had a bit of a rough introduction throwing that intercept pass and I think that knocked his confidence for a little while but he worked his way back into the game.

"I think the thing that defined him was the chop tackle at the end that earned us an opportunity to get the ball back.

"He's a guy that's growing in confidence and the more often he's in the big games, the greater his confidence will be and he'll be more comfortable in the role."

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