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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Farrell 'really proud' of Ireland but Ryan emerges as injury doubt for England clash

The Ireland boss said Johnny Sexton was cramping before his late winning penalty.

Ryan was replaced late against Scotland.
Ryan was replaced late against Scotland.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

SECOND ROW JAMES Ryan is a doubt for Ireland’s final-round Six Nations clash with England in Dublin next weekend after being withdrawn for a head injury assessment [HIA] in their dramatic win over Scotland.

The Leinster lock was replaced by Ryan Baird in the final 10 minutes of action in Edinburgh and although Ireland boss Andy Farrell did not confirm whether Ryan had failed his HIA, a six-day turnaround to the England game next Saturdy could see him miss out.

Ryan was ruled out of Ireland’s defeat to France earlier in this Six Nations due to the head injury he suffered in the opening round against Wales.

“James Ryan had a HIA check,” said Farrell post-match. “We’ll see. I don’t know what the protocol has been like after the game but there was a check there.”

Farrell said that captain Johnny Sexton had been suffering with cramp in the closing stages of the game, but the out-half shook that issue off to kick the winning penalty as Ireland snuck a 27-24 victory.

“To be fair to Johnny, he was cramping in that last five or 10 minutes as well, to step up to the plate and kick a goal in that sort of state makes the three points even better,” said Farrell.

He also revealed that centre Garry Ringrose “was hanging on there” with an ankle injury late on against the Scots and said those injury issues were the reason he didn’t use Conor Murray off the bench.

“We had quite a few knocks and ifs-and-buts that were on the field. Two or three lads were hanging on in there and sometimes if you make a change to a fit player, then you can come unstuck.

“It’s the way it goes from time to time and it’s the same with Billy [Burns] as well.”

robbie-henshaw-celebrates-after-scoring-a-try-with-keith-earls Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls celebrate the former's try. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

It was a dramatic victory for Ireland, who led 24-10 heading into the final quarter but found themselves level at 24-24 with five minutes of the game remaining.

It took a big play from Baird and Iain Henderson to earn the breakdown turnover penalty that allowed Sexton to kick the winning points.

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“I suppose my overriding feeling is one of pride really,” said Farrell when asked to sum up his sense of Ireland’s performance.

“When things were not quite going our way at the business end of the game, in those last 10 minutes where it could have been won and lost, to come back from a few slip-ups, error-wise, etc. from the restart, the line-out, and defensively letting things slip a little bit, to then defend your own line like we did, time and time again, just knocking them back and getting up off the floor, obviously for them to get the seven points to draw the game, it would take down a few teams mentally.

“They stayed together, they re-focused, they re-grouped, great kick-off, good chase, good pressure and they stayed next-moment-focused. We got the turnover and big players, that’s what they do, they take responsibility. Johnny put over the points.

“We’ll pick it apart like we always do and there’s plenty to work on as always. Everyone knows Scotland are a good side, nobody finds it easy coming here and getting away with a victory, never mind with the form that they’ve been in. I’ve been here plenty of times and struggled with most teams that we’ve been up here with.

“So really proud to get the win, really proud of how we started the game and how we ended the game but obviously there’s things to work on.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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