Schmidt: We feared for Conor Murray's eye after Brown boot
Joe Schmidt has revealed that Ireland's management feared that Conor Murray may have suffered damage to his eye in the incident involving Mike Brown in Saturday's defeat to England.
The Ireland scrum-half received eight stitches to the corner of his eye, but escaped any lasting damage, after Brown's boot came into contact with his face during a second-half ruck.
The England full-back yesterday escaped any sanction for the action that led to Schmidt to call on World Rugby to address the issue of the kicking at the ball in rucks.
With Murray expected to recover in time to face Italy on Saturday week, Ireland have no fresh injury worries and should welcome Jared Payne back.
"The good news with Conor is there is no damage to the actual eye, which is what we feared at the time," Schmidt said yesterday.
"He has got eight stitches in the corner of the eye, but hopefully will be back training tomorrow without contact. His eye is closed over with the inflammation and bruising, but there is nothing too damaging there apart from the sutures. Jared Payne was back running today and is expected to train fully tomorrow. "
The head coach revealed that as many as 12 of the squad who took part in the loss to England will be released in an unusual step.
"Some of the players will go back to play for their provinces," he said. The provinces are in tight spots in the Pro12 so they'll go back and get some game-time.
"There will be about 12 of the squad that will turn out that were involved at the weekend, a number of guys off the bench.
"That will be another opportunity for them to get game-fit because some of the guys who have come back into the squad, even the starting team, haven't had much game-time.
"We felt we were maybe a couple of runs short. This gives us an opportunity to get a little bit more time under their belts and hopefully that will pay dividends."
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