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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 18 February, 2018
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Injury concern for Joey Carbery as Ireland turn attentions to Japan

An ankle injury compounded what was a difficult night for the Leinster out-half at the Red Bull Arena.

Joey Carbery Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

John Fallon reports from New Jersey

JOEY CARBERY IS Ireland’s biggest concern as they pack their bags in New Jersey and head to the Land of the Rising Sun for a couple of clashes with Japan.

Carbery had a game to forget at the Red Bull Arena last night. Having had kicks blocked down for two USA tries and miscues with his first three — albeit difficult — conversions, his evening came to an end with an ankle injury.

The Irish medical team were hoping to have it scanned before they begin the Sunday morning long-haul flight to Tokyo, with a doubt hanging over the 21-year old’s availability for the Tests against Japan.

At least Paddy Jackson, who missed the game in the USA for personal reasons, will be available for Japan, while Connacht out-half Jack Carty is understood to be one of many players on standby.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, who clarified that Tiernan O’Halloran’s injury was nothing more than cramp, said they did not think that Carbery’s problem stemmed from the syndesmosis issue which sidelined the out-half for Leinster in December.

Joey Carbery goes off injured Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Joey just sprained his ankle a bit chasing across the pitch, he just went to turn back. We thought it pertinent to get him off. We don’t know what the story is yet.

“It hasn’t really swelled too much but it was a bit tender so we’ll see how it settles and maybe get a scan, either here or once we’ve arrived in Tokyo,” said Schmidt.

He handed debuts to five players, with Jacob Stockdale marking his first start with a try, while last year’s U20 captain James Ryan took less than 60 seconds to score after being put through by the superb Keith Earls, who brought his own try tally to 24 in 60 appearances with a brace.

Dave Heffernan, Andrew Porter and Rory Scannell also made their debuts on a scorching evening when Ireland won by nine tries to three, 55-19, leaving Schmidt relatively pleased with the win.

“It’s a pass mark, first up. This group has worked hard but it’s always difficult to put it together. The US got into our space really well and made us work hard. I thought they got into our space quite a few times.

Joe Schmidt Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Particularly Joey, they got into the space with his cross kicks because they were up and in at us. It was oppressively hot out there and heavy for the players. The other thing at half-time that the lads were saying was the ball was incredibly slippery. There was a lot of perspiration on the ball which made it incredibly hard to get long transfers.

“Shorter transfers were okay but as soon as you wanted to try to get enough bit on the ball to get it wide, it was a little bit difficult,” added Schmidt.

Earls a class apart as Ireland run in 9 tries against USA

Rough day for Carbery, American dream debut for Ryan and more talking points from NJ

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John Fallon

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