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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 8 May 2021

Payne a concern for Georgia clash as Ireland wait on Henry assessment

The outside centre looked to have sprained his foot last night against South Africa.

Payne had a positive Test debut for Ireland last night.
Payne had a positive Test debut for Ireland last night.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

JARED PAYNE IS an injury concern for Ireland ahead of the meeting with Georgia in Dublin next weekend, while head coach Joe Schmidt is also waiting on results from a medical assessment of flanker Chris Henry.

Ulsterman Payne, who made his international debut at outside centre against South Africa last night, limped off in the 78th minute at the Aviva Stadium with a foot injury after a solid first cap.

“Just chatting to him and the doc, we think he might have sprained his foot. He had an x-ray, which is clear,” said Schmidt of Payne post-match. “That’s a step in the right direction, even though he’s probably not taking too many rampant strides at the moment.

“I’m hopeful that he’ll be ok, but we won’t know probably until Monday evening or Tuesday. I think there’s some scans booked for Monday just to get a picture on that foot.”

Gordon D’Arcy will be in the selection mix for Ireland’s second fixture of the November series next Sunday, while Stuart Olding offers another option. Schmidt may look to continue with Robbie Henshaw in the centre, although that is more likely to be at 13 if Payne is unfit.

Meanwhile, Schmidt said Ireland were waiting on results of an assessment on Ulster’s Henry, who was a late withdrawal from the starting team to face the Springboks yesterday.

The IRFU were keen to stress that any rumours of a heart issue for the 30-year-old were unfounded, instead stating that his inability to play had been down to a virus.

Simon Easter and Chris Henry 4/11/2014 Henry took a full part in Ireland's captain's run on Friday, but fell ill the night before the game. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Schmidt praised Rhys Ruddock for coming into the starting team at late notice and in the slightly unfamiliar surrounding of openside, pointing out that the 23-year-old was ”worth every minute he delivered on the pitch today.”

Still, the hope is that Henry will be back involved as soon as possible.

“We found out about Chris in the morning around about 8.30,” said Schmidt. “He wasn’t well and we believe he’s got a virus. It just meant that he wasn’t going to be capable of playing and he’s going to be checked out fully.

When we know the full results of that, hopefully he’ll be back in camp on Monday evening or Tuesday and that will give him a little bit of an opportunity to fire into the back end of the series.

“Probably the disappointment for Chris is that this time last year, he played the first 30 minutes against Samoa and limped off with a hamstring and missed the rest of the series.”

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Murray Kinsella

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