Thursday 14 December 2017

Joe Schmidt gives update on Johnny Sexton's 'whiplash' injury and Sean O'Brien's tear

Joe Schmidt has delivered an injury update
Joe Schmidt has delivered an injury update Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has confirmed that Sean O'Brien will miss the trip to Twickenham on Saturday week after suffering a grade two hamstring tear in the first half of Ireland's 10-9 defeat to France in Paris at the weekend.

Winger Dave Kearney, who was substituted after shipping a a very heavy tackle from French skipper Guilhem Guirado, is also a serious doubt for the clash with Eddie Jones' men due to an AC injury.

Leinster lock Mike McCarthy will be referred to a head injury specialist given the nature of the concussion he suffered when he accidentally clashed with team mate Jack McGrath.

Schmidt revealed that Jonathan Sexton is recovering well from the bruising encounter and that Ulster's Jared Payne will be rested after he played the entire second half at the Stade de France with a hamstring injury.

Speaking to, he said: "48-hours post-game, we've had some time to get some assessments done and Mike McCarthy obviously suffered concussion and he will follow return-to-play protocols but we'll also get him to see a specialist just because of the nature of the impact.

"Sean O'Brien, unfortunately he's got a grade two hamstring tear and that will make him unavailable for the England game and we'll see how he tracks beyond that.

"Dave Kearney has got an AC joint injury and a very sore shoulder and neck and he is also very likely to miss the Engaland game as a result of that.

"We've got Jonathan Sexton, and again his neck and shoulder is more of a whiplash injury and he is certainly feeling an awful lot better 48 hours post-game.

"Jared Payne has got a grade one hamstring strain that he did in the first half, we had already had to put Fergus McFadden on when Dave Kearney got taken out, on the basis of that , Jared really just said he'd go as long as he could and he was doing such a good job for us defensively, he managed to get himself through that but he certainly won't train this week and we'll just have to monitor him in the lead-up to the England game.

"On a positive side, Cian Healy and Mike Ross got through some time in the weekend for Leinster and they'll spend a little time with us this week before going back to play again for Leinster on the weekend."

The Ireland scrum creaked in the second half of Saturday's defeat and that is something that will be addressed this week in training.

On the French game, he said: "There's huge disappointment and frustration, when you lose a bit of leadership you've just got to fins a way. We did get over and score at one stage but it was a little bit fortuitous and it didn't count for anything in the end.

"I just felt we didn't convert some of the pressure we put on them into points and that 's what you've got to do against a pretty well organised defensive side.

"I thought France defended really well in tough conditions to attack. The ball was very, very slippery and it was greasy on top and it did make it quite difficult but I don't think the players would see any excuses with the field positions they had and not quite getting over the line.

"Their is a fair bit of disappointment, a fair bit of frustration. When the scrum's were square in the first half, our scrum earned a free-kick and a penalty and was going really well.

"I know they brought fresh guys off the bench and that's the quality of what they have on the bench , but at the same time, the scrum started turning from then on and it just made a mess of the whole scrum situation which was disappointing.

"We still won all our own ball, we were still doing a reasonably good job there, but it was really difficult once they were on their ball and they turned it, to contain them.

"Those are frustrations and we'll work away on those this week. We're heading to Mullingar for a couple of days. We'll have a crew of 18-19 players who head to Mullingar and work away.

"Cian Healy and Mike Ross will join us for Thurday's training and then head back to Leinster on Friday when we train with the under-20s and then we'll give the players the weekend off to freshen up and hopefully get on a bit of a roll into the England week."

The Kiwi believes that Eddie Jones' England, who are still on for the Grand Slam after a 40-9 victory over Italy in Rome, are on an upward curve and that may be bad news for his charges.

"They are unfortunately getting a little bit more rhythm  as time goes on. Thety deserved the result against Scotland but it could have went either way  and Scotland probably rue a missed chance or two they had but at the same time, England were pretty good for their win.

"They took a while to get on top of the Italians, but  we know what that's like, they are very tough to knock over and they are very combative around the fringes.

"The English slowly built more tempo and as they built more tempo, the Italians looked more and more ragged.

"That's not great for us looking ahead to England with a few more men down but the one thing I would say is that the players are working really hard and we don't feel like we are that far away. A draw and a one-point loss doesn't look great on the Championship table but it probably reflects pretty well on the character of the players who are stepping into breach and doing a really good job."

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