Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is set to discuss the possibility of extra rest for Johnny Sexton as the fly-half recovers from a hamstring injury.
Sexton missed Saturday’s victory over Australia having failed to finish the first half of the previous week’s Guinness Series Test with New Zealand. After beating the Wallabies, Schmidt said both Sexton and centre Robbie Henshaw (concussion), his Leinster team-mate, would not be sidelined for too long following their injuries suffered against the All Blacks but implied that the British & Irish Lions playmaker might benefit from some additional time to become “more robust”.
“I’d like to think they’re relatively short-term. Robbie was pretty sore, he was pretty knocked about and that’s disappointing,” Schmidt said.
“Johnny, I got asked last week does he need a window of time to make sure that he can be more robust and that’s probably one of the things that comes up for discussion now that this window is over.”
The cost of Ireland’s November series of internationals will now impact the provinces with Rob Kearney adding to Leinster’s concerns, Jordi Murphy having been ruled out long-term with a serious knee injury following the November 5 win over the All Blacks. Kearney was withdrawn as a precaution following a Head Injury Assessment 11 minutes into Saturday’s 27-24 win over Australia. The full-back had just returned from having completed return to play protocols for concussion the previous week. Ulster, meanwhile, may be without wing Andrew Trimble after he limped out with his left ankle heavily strapped while centre Jared Payne failed to reappear for the second half. Payne had been a doubt before kick-off after a heavy workload and several bumps and bruises from the previous weekend and Schmidt said his defensive captain had suffered a knock to his ribs.
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