Schmidt: No doubts over Sexton injury but O’Mahony too big a risk
Joe Schmidt is confident that Jonathan Sexton is fully fit and says playing his fly-half is not a risk on Saturday.
The Racing Metro man has overcome his thumb injury to take his place in the starting XV that shows just one change from the team that lost to England at Twickenham, with Iain Henderson coming in for the injured Peter O’Mahony.
Schmidt admitted that the Munster captain could have played if really needed, but was left out with the final game in Paris in mind.
The flanker did not train at Carton House today after suffering hamstring and shoulder injuries in London but the coach believes he’ll be available next weekend.
“I might have risked Peter, but we just felt there was a risk and that’s why we left it,” he said.
“If he had trained fully today, we would have included him probably but we decided that caution was required.
“I’m really confident about Paris next week.”
Schmidt has no qualms about thrusting the versatile Ulster man into the fray and has experience of the fixture from last season.
“Iain’s a guy who played in the equivalent fixture last year, good experience he’s a good athlete and made an impact off the bench against England.”
As for Sexton, Schmidt shrugged off any contention between the Ireland management and his club Racing Metro.
“I have no doubts. It’s a sprained thumb, he finished the game.”
Tommy Bowe trained with the squad today and could come into contention for the final game against France.
“If we got into trouble before next week it was good to get Tommy back involved,” he insisted.
“He played for us in November, he’s up to speed.”
“He had no ill effects from training today, had a few days off and on the basis of that we want to keep him involved.
“If, on Monday, we need Tommy to add some more value or a doubt over somebody then we’ll go for that.
“He looked really well, he stretched his legs and had no ill effects.
“He thoroughly enjoyed being back on the field last Friday and is a quality player.”