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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

Earls set for concussion protocols as Schmidt makes positive report

The Munster wing was stretchered off after lying motionless for some minutes.

JOE SCHMIDT SAYS he doesn’t think injuries to Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald could rule either man out of the World Cup.

Keith Earls signals to the crowd as he goes off injured Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Munster wing Earls was stretchered off in a neck brace during the second half of Ireland’s defeat 16-10 to Wales in Dublin, although Schmidt says that measure was purely a precaution.

“Keith got caught with his head on the wrong side of the tackle,” said Schmidt post-match.

He was totally lucid in the changing rooms, he remembered his involvements in the game, so they’re both promising signs. He will follow the concussion protocols.”

Fitzgerald followed Earls off the pitch soon after, appearing to be in some discomfort around the hip area, where he has previously had a number of injury problems.

However, the Ireland head coach reported that Fitzgerald had instead suffered a bang on the glute, and doesn’t look like a long-term injury worry.

“Luke got a dint in the upper part of his glute I think,” said Schmidt.

“Again, just talking to him he’s uncomfortable but that’ll be bruising and it will be very uncomfortable when it’s close to the bone. He may be two or three days, or he might be five or six days, recovering from that.”

Luke Fitzgerald Fitzgerald was injured in the second half against Wales. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

While both players would now appear to be unlikely to feature in next weekend’s World Cup warm-up clash with England at Twickenham, Schmidt said his initial feeling is that neither player is in danger of missing out on the World Cup itself due to injury.

I don’t think so. Again, it’s very early to tell. They’ll be monitored over the next 24 hours. If it’s deemed necessary, they’ll be scanned and we’ll make sure that they’re going to be ok in the next week, or short-term anyway.”

There is one further injury issue for Ireland to address in the coming days, with hooker Richardt Strauss having sustained an ankle problem against the Welsh this afternoon.

“I think he rolled his ankle,” said Schmidt. “He said it’s feeling ok, so we’re hopeful that he’ll be ok as well. Again, we’ll see how he pulls up over the next day or two. ”

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Murray Kinsella

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