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Sunday 22 October 2017

Joe Schmidt needs fully fit Sexton to take Ireland forward

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton tackles England's George Ford
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton tackles England's George Ford

The mastermind behind Ireland Joe Schmidt will be limited in what he can do against Wales without Jonathan Sexton.

There was an undeniable drop in composure and accuracy when his playmaker was forced off with injury in the 54th minute.

At least, the cloud that is concussion does not hover over Sexton's availability.

"Yeah, Johnny just felt a twinge in his hamstring when he was kicking that conversion from the corner," said the coach.

"We haven't had that assessed yet. I can't really comment as to the severity or non-severity of that."

Sean O'Brien will have to undergo the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocols as he bids to overcome a concussive blow to the head for what will be a critical showdown in Cardiff on Saturday week.

"He will work his way through those over the next six days. He's certainly asymptomatic, at the moment. He's fine," said Schmidt.

Centre Jared Payne passed his HIA test on the side of the pitch and is not considered a serious doubt.

This was a day and night to savour for the workaholic.

"I'm not going to think about going forward for another 24 hours. I'm just going to enjoy this," reflected Schmidt.

The man can afford to take a day off given how he has undoubtedly already done his research on Wales.

"I think the Welsh have stepped up steadily, not for the first time" he said

"I watched as a spectator two years ago when they lost to Ireland in the first game and by the time they got to the end of the tournament they put a big score on England to win the championship."

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