Ireland’s joy tempered by Sexton injury worry

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt’s joy in remaining on track for a Six Nations Grand Slam has been tempered by an injury to star fly-half Jonathan Sexton’s hamstring.

The extent of the injury will be assessed imminently as Ireland have a tricky trip to Cardiff next up against Wales ahead.

Wales got themselves back in the tirtle race onm Saturday by beating France in Paris and Ireland could be without Sexton for their next match.

“Johnny felt a twinge in his hamstring and thankfully he managed to convert the try (by Robbie Henshaw),” said Schmidt.

“However, we thought it was wise to take him off. We haven’t had it assessed yet so we don’t know the severity of it.”

Schmidt says that he is really proud of the Irish players for a sterling defensive effort in the final quarter of the Six Nations defending champions’ victory.

The victory equalled the hosts national record of successive test wins at 10 while also keeping their hopes alive of only the country’s third Grand Slam, as well as being just the second time to retain the title (1948/49).

However, they were at times hanging on by their fingertips as England — who came into the game also with two wins from two matches — mounted wave after wave of attacks as they clawed their way back from 19-3 down.

“With the quality of the England ball carriers and their fleet footed backs I thought the fact we kept them off the tryline as they came at us in swarms was outstanding,” said Schmidt.

“We showed character and I am really proud of the players.”

For Ireland’s legendary captain Paul O’Connell, who should win his 100th cap for the national side against Wales in a fortnight, it was a victory that ranked up along other memorable ones he has experienced.

“It is a day to enjoy,” said the 35-year-old lock.

“We built it up as a big game and this win is right up there as one of the best.

“To go out and execute like we did gave us a great feeling. I never imagined I would look up and see a scoreline at one point of 19-3 .”

Schmidt, who has won 13 of the 16 tests he has been in charge of, praised the backline and especially 21-year-old centre Robbie Henshaw, who scored the only try of the encounter when he outjumped Alex Goode in the corner to collect Conor Murray’s deft box kick.

“I thought he (Henshaw) was going to score one in the first-half when Tommy O’Donnell offloaded to him,” said Schmidt.

“However, the move he came up with with Conor Murray for the try was absolutely outstanding.”

O’Connell said the thought of equalling the record amount of consecutive test wins hadn’t really occurred to him or his team-mates.

“However, what it does give is a certain amount of confidence,” said O’Connell.

“We’ve been holding on better to leads at the end of matches, although it would probably be better if we were finishing with the ball in our hands and not the opponents’.

“What we are certainly doing is improving things match by match and that comes with confidence.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.