Ireland boss Schmidt faces anxious wait on Carbery injury

Joe Schmidt hopes Joey Carbery has avoided serious injury to his left ankle.

The Leinster fly-half hobbled off after suffering a sprain in Ireland’s 29-10 World Cup warm-up victory over Italy in Dublin.

Head coach Schmidt has confirmed Carbery has avoided a fracture, and now hopes the 23-year-old can still be fit in time for the World Cup.

Ireland v Italy – Guinness Summer Series – Aviva Stadium
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has injury worries over his two fly-halves (Donall Farmer/PA)

Premier playmaker Johnny Sexton has been recovering from a thumb sprain, and Ireland can ill afford to lose either frontline fly-half.

“The good news is there’s no fracture, it’s a bit puffy on the inside of his left ankle,” said Schmidt.

“We’ll give it 24 to 48 hours for the swelling to go down.

“He’s been cleared of a fracture so that’s the good news on Joey.

“We don’t have anyone else who’s a major concern.

“We’re hopefully relatively unscathed but Joey it will take 24 to 48 hours to know for sure.

“I was really happy with Joey’s performance today.

“Defensively he got himself into the right places, and that’s a challenge sometimes.

“I thought he ran the game very well, the variety of his kicking game and running game.

Johnny Sexton File Photo
Johnny Sexton could be fit for Ireland’s next match (Brian Lawless/PA)

“He is a danger with the ball, and he almost got through the line a couple of times.

“I thought as a package Joey’s game was really tidy.”

Ireland boss Schmidt confirmed Sexton will be available to feature in the next warm-up clash, against England at Twickenham on Saturday, August 24.

“Johnny probably could have played this weekend,” said Schmidt.

“He trained in the week and was going pretty hard I’m told.”

Italy v Ireland – Guinness Six Nations – Stadio Olimpico
Ireland’s Chris Farrell impressed at centre (Steven Paston/PA)

Carbery, Dave Kearney, Andrew Conway, Jordi Murphy and Kieran Marmion all crossed as an experimental Ireland line-up secured a routine Aviva Stadium victory.

Maxime Mbanda and Carlo Canna bagged first-half tries as Italy exploited Ireland’s pre-season ring-rustiness.

Chris Farrell impressed at inside centre, providing stability and power across Ireland’s midfield.

And Schmidt admitted the Munster powerhouse has improved his chances of forcing his way into Ireland’s final World Cup 31.

Asked if Farrell had improved his abilities to feature at either 12 or 13, Schmidt said: “I think he took a step toward it.

“It’s something that we know all three of the other centres can do.

“Garry Ringrose started his first Test as a 12, and coming off the bench before he’s shifted into 12.

“Bundee has played a lot of 12, and Robbie too.

“And at the same time those three players can play 13.

#TeamOfUs@mikehaley_1 & his biggest fan on his first Ireland Cap. Cutest post match interview ever? 😀#TeamOfUs#IREvITA#ShoulderToShoulderpic.twitter.com/JD7Hk2PIYh

— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) August 10, 2019

“So we want to make sure that three or four centres, however we carve it up, with Garry able to play on the wing as well. So it’s just keeping our options open a little.”

Italy boss Conor O’Shea insisted he was reasonably satisfied with proceedings, despite the defeat.

“It’s very hard to contextualise when you have your first hit-out,” said O’Shea.

“I thought there were a lot of positives for where we are physically; we were able to more than hold our own.

“It comes to the stage now about what we can control, not what the opposition does to us.

“A few guys really stuck their hands up; we’ll just keep on building.”

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