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Sexton 'up and around by half-time' lending a helping hand to Ross Byrne after HIA

The out-half failed his own HIA and had to watch the majority of the win over Exeter from the stands.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Sean Farrell reports from the Aviva Stadium

TV FOOTAGE IS no way to measure the severity of a head injury, but Jonathan Sexton looked comfortable when the cameras panned to him in the second half of Leinster’s comeback win over Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup.

Ireland’s number 10 was en early casualty in another brutally physical clash in the space of six days between these sides, walking down the tunnel to fail a HIA with just two minutes on the clock and seven points already on the board for Exeter.

By half-time though, head coach Leo Cullen says that Sexton was a part of the dressing room chatter and coached Ross Byrne – who also went through a HIA in the opening 15 minutes – through the interval.

“He was up and around at half-time,” Cullen said post-match.

“He was talking to Ross Byrne, managing the gameplan and talking him through a few ideas. He looked pretty good to me at this stage.

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“We’ll see how he goes through (the return to play protocols) obviously, but he’s okay, like. He’s out in the corridor chatting to some of the extra players.”

It was a match where Leinster suffered numerous times for the height they approached the point of contact. Sean Cronin received treatment for a bang to his face and Cian Healy’s yellow card, but Byrne also required a HIA for his charge face-first into the shoulder of Nic White. Post-match Cullen marked the 22-year-old playmaker’s knock as a neck complaint and commended the part he played in the 19-point turnaround.

“I thought (Byrne) managed the game well under difficult circumstances, amazing experience for him.

“Another great step for Ross in terms of his development and where he’s going I thought he did very well.”

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Sean Farrell

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