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Monday 11 December 2017

No 'cite' of Brown as Murray takes eight stitches to eye

England's Mike Brown. Photo: David Davies/PA
England's Mike Brown. Photo: David Davies/PA

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt must be seething at the decision not to cite Mike Brown for what was reckless use of the boot to the head of Conor Murray.

The Independent Citing Commissioner did not feel any additional investigation into the incident was warranted after referee Romain Poite, in combination with Television Match Official Shaun Veldsman, viewed the act as accidental.

"Conor has got eight stitches in the corner of his eye," reported Schmidt yesterday.

"There was a bit of fear that there might be damage to the eye.

"But, there's not, thankfully."

There was better news on the state of Jared Payne's fitness from a hamstring strain.

The designated outside centre is scheduled to fully train today after missing out on Twickenham.

The odds favour Payne's return for Italy in what will probably mean a reconvening of his partnership with Robbie Henshaw to the exclusion of Stuart McCloskey.

The alternative would be to insert Payne at full-back for Rob Kearney in order that the McCloskey-Henshaw axis have greater time to evolve.

This is not likely in light of Kearney's security at the back for Ireland on Saturday.

However, it was interesting to notice how Henshaw made use of the extra space one channel further out to be Ireland's top performer in attack with 108 metres made.

For the first time, Schmidt alluded to the "passive" approach of his defence which was similar to the way they stood off Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final.

"Defensively, we can't afford to be passive, we can't afford to wait for things to happen.

"We've really got to be as competitive as we can and as combative as we can."

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