'Conor was keen to try and see how he went in the second half'

Joe Schmidt says he won’t be rushing into any knee-jerk changes to his team ahead of the England clash.

Murray Kinsella reports from Cardiff

JOE SCHMIDT DEFENDED Ireland’s decision to leave Conor Murray on the pitch after the scrum-half sustained an injury in the first half of Friday night’s 22-9 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

Murray sustained what Schmidt said was a “stinger” in his left shoulder while making a tackle on George North, staying down on the turf and receiving treatment afterwards.

Conor Murray gets treatment on his hand Murray was injured in the first half. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Within minutes, Murray took another heavy blow in a second tackle on North, but again played on.

It had been expected that the Munster man would be replaced by Kieran Marmion at the half-time break but Ireland instead waited until after North’s second try in the 45th minute to replace Murray.

“The shoulder was getting better all the time and through the half-time period, it improved sufficiently that he felt it was ok to go,” said Schmidt post-match.

“So we said, ‘Look, try it and see how it goes’ and he felt that he probably could have played on but we felt that, seeing how sharp his pass normally is, it wasn’t as good as it normally is.

“He probably had a 15 to 20% deficiency in his pass, so we said, ‘Look, we’re better off to get you off, look after you and we’ll get Kieran Marmion out there.’

“Conor was keen to try and see how he went in the second half because it was improving all the time and improved through the half-time break.”

Marmion was excellent off the Ireland bench, providing a noticeable lift in attacking energy and a crisp pass, as well as driving Ross Moriarty into touch at the end of one defensive set.

The Connacht man’s performance is encouraging in the event that Murray’s “stinger” proves to be an injury that sidelines him for next weekend’s clash with England at the Aviva Stadium.

Tommy Bowe is another doubt for that tie, having undergone an x-ray on Friday night following an unfortunate ankle injury, which he suffered despite only being sent onto the pitch as a replacement with the game already lost.

Joe Schmidt and Rory Best Schmidt says he won't rush into any selection decisions. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Away from the possible injuries, there will be many calls for Schmidt to mix-up his team selection ahead of the visit of the English, but speaking after the defeat to the Welsh, he said he won’t be rushing into anything.

“I don’t think that any time after a Test match, you make those assessments,” said Schmidt.

“Obviously, I’ll go back and have a look at the game, the other coaches will go back and have a look at the game and we’ll get together tomorrow morning after having looked at the game and we’ll try to make sure that, first and foremost, we get the players recovered and in the right frame of mind to start another week.

“I think it’s incredibly disappointing for the players. They have put a heck of a lot of effort out on the pitch tonight and when you don’t get reward for that effort, it’s fairly demoralising.

“So you certainly don’t start talking about changes. That was one of the things about Welsh people talking about making changes. I thought a few of their best players tonight were the players that some conjecture was suggesting they change.

“I don’t think any coach immediately after a game has a knee-jerk reaction that he’s going to suddenly make changes or his coaching group is suddenly going to make makes. 48 hours, see how they turn out for training and then build toward the latter part of the week.

“By Thursday, you’ve got a pretty good idea of who’s fit and who’s in the best frame of mind to take on the challenge that will be immense for us next weekend.”

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