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Van der Flier to miss Italy clash as Schmidt hails Ireland's bench impact

Dan Leavy was immense for Ireland after replacing van der Flier in the first half.

Murray Kinsella reports from Stade de France

JOSH VAN DER Flier looks set to miss Ireland’s second round Six Nations clash with Italy next weekend after suffering an injury during his side’s dramatic 15-13 win over France in Paris.

Josh van der Flier receives attention for an injury Van der Flier was injured in the first half. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The openside flanker was replaced in the first half of Ireland’s victory at Stade de France and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said post-match that van der Flier is unlikely to be fit for the Italy fixture.

“I think at this stage, Josh will be unavailable next week,” said Schmidt. “He will get a scan either tomorrow evening or Monday depending on when we can get the spot with us traveling tomorrow.

“It looks like it could be a medial ligament, just with the mechanism of the injury and that’s just my naive diagnosis.

“I don’t think there’s anyone else [injured] other than a lot of fatigue, a lot of bruised bodies and hopefully once we get through tomorrow, we will have a better idea by Monday.”

While Ireland could have been negatively impacted by the loss of van der Flier, his replacement Dan Leavy was outstanding.

The Leinster man hammered into ball carries, tackles and the breakdown with influential aggression and he also displayed his skill level.

Another young Irish forward to impress was Six Nations debutant James Ryan, who shone in the second row.

Schmidt was pleased with Leavy’s impact, but also praised the rest of his substitutes.

“We felt that Josh van der Flier was playing really well for us in that opening 25 minutes,” said Schmidt.

Dan Leavy with Rémi Lamerat Leavy was a powerful presence for Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“James Ryan, I felt he was immense. He carried, he tackled, he worked hard, his lineout work was really efficient as well.

“Dan Leavy made an immediate impression when he came on. He got over the ball, he got off the line, he carried strongly and even in those last phases of play, I think Dan Leavy made a difference.

“That’s what you want from guys who do come off the bench. Jack McGrath carried strongly when he got on there as well and Dev [Toner] in those last few phases as well.

“I think probably one of the best cleanouts of the match was Fergus McFadden, it is something that he does really well.

“That’s why you try to keep building a squad. One thing I felt was that the replacement front row did a great job, they had France in a lot of trouble. Twice on the far side of the pitch they scrummed right over them and unfortunately we didn’t get any decisions there, but it was a fantastic effort.”

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Murray Kinsella

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