Billy Stickland/INPHO Sexton was forced off in the first half.
Sexton not yet ruled out of Ireland's second Test against the All Blacks
The captain was forced off in the first half of today’s first Test.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 2nd 2022, 3:38 PM

IRELAND SAY THAT Johnny Sexton hasn’t yet been ruled out of their second Test against the All Blacks next weekend in Dunedin.

The 36-year-old was forced off for a Head Injury Assessment [HIA] in the first half of today’s first Test defeat in Auckland due to a head injury. 

Sexton did not return to the pitch, with Joey Carbery coming on in his place for the remainder of the game.

World Rugby recently introduced a new 12-day stand-down period for players who suffer concussion.

The new system means that the majority of players diagnosed with concussion – including those with a history of concussion or who are removed from a match with obvious concussion symptoms – will be sidelined for a minimum of 12 days.

Previously, players could return to action just seven days after failing a HIA.

However, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has indicated that Sexton is in a positive place following his side’s 42-19 defeat to the All Blacks. 

“Johnny is good,” said Farrell. “He is in fine spirits. He has just passed his HIA 2 so he’s got a HIA 3 to do in the next couple of days and he’s in good form out there.”

When asked if Sexton has been ruled out of the second Test, Farrell replied: 

“No, no.”

Farrell was asked why Sexton hadn’t returned to the pitch during the game today.

“Because they tested him and deemed him not fit to go on because there’s all different sorts of tests that go on,” said Farrell. “You can stumble in your studs, you know, and not go on.

“But Johnny is fine in there. HIA 2 is passed, HIA 3 will hopefully be passed in a few days. If that happens, it’s concussion not confirmed.”

It remains to be seen if Sexton returns for Ireland’s second Test against New Zealand.

Farrell did confirm that replacement hooker Dave Heffernan “has confirmed concussion.”

Ireland have had to deal with a number of injury issues on this tour of New Zealand.

Second row Iain Henderson’s tour was ended by the significant knee injury he suffered in training, centre James Hume picked up a groin injury against the Māori All Blacks, Jeremy Loughman was concussed in the same game, and hooker Rob Herring picked up a knock in training. 

Ireland have also seen wing Mack Hansen and prop Finlay Bealham test positive for Covid-19.

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