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Saturday 3 December 2016

Schmidt knocks Murray's injury on head

Conor Murray
Conor Murray

All Joe Schmidt has to do is take one look at the debris of injury Warren Gatland is dealing with to know everything is not as bad as it seems.

Wales lost the best goal-kicker in word rugby in Leigh Halfpenny and scrum-half Rhys Webb against Italy.

It is akin to Ireland going to the World Cup without Rob Kearney and Conor Murray (inset) or somewhere thereabouts.

Schmidt would have taken a good performance - he didn't get it - in defeat if it came with no serious injuries.

There was a moment of serious concern when Murray lay motionless on the Twickenham turf from an accidental boot to the head from prop Joe Marler.

The Irishman walked off without assistance and did not return.

"He went through all the head injury assessment successfully, but because he was knocked down, it was pertinent to leave him off the pitch," said Schmidt.

"Any time that happens, it counts as a concussion so, that's the way we'll follow the return-to-play protocols."

Schmidt put the withdrawal of Jonathan Sexton and Simon Zebo down to nothing more nagging than cramp.

"If it had been a different time and a different Test match, not prior to a World Cup, they may have stayed on.

"We may have taken a risk with them, but there is an increased risk that they will do a muscle injury."

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