JOE SCHMIDT’S ALREADY bloated injury list has swelled further after last night’s victory over Munster at the Aviva Stadium.
“That’s the massive concern after tonight,” a visibly unsettled Schmidt told TG4. “We’re delighted, obviously with the result. But to lose so many players – by the 55 minute mark we were in pieces.”
Leinster ended up 30 -21 victors of a hotly contested derby, their third in a row over the southern province. Rarely, though, have such inexperienced players played in front of 40,000 people with Jordi Murphy, Noel Reid, John Cooney and Fionn Carr all introduced as enforced changes.
Kevin McLaughlin, Brian O’Driscoll and Isa Nacewa all departed the scene early, while Andrew Conway, 21, was stretchered from the field after a second half collision.
“Brian has got a sprained ankle and it was bad enough that he couldn’t continue.” Schmidt said, as he began listing the names of the wounded: “That’s gotta be pretty bad, because he’s mentally tough, a really tough guy.
“So is Isa. (He) never usually leaves the field so those two are a real concern for next week - Kev McLaughlin looks like he might have hyper-extended his elbow so we’ll just have to have a look at that one aswell. We lost him really early in the game.”
The Leinster coach did emphasise that he wasn’t yet aware of the exact seriousness of the injuries. He will anxiously wait on the results of scans on Monday morning before looking ahead to opening the defence of the Heineken Cup against Exeter Chiefs. A game where, he hopes, Rob Kearney, Gordon D’arcy and Isaac Boss will again be available for selection.
“There’s a few scans to happen to diagnose exactly what the story is with a few players. (Then) glue ourselves back together for Exeter next week. I see they put 40 points into Harlequins today. That’s no mean feat.”
Despite the many negatives, Schmidt did record a win over the province’s arch-rivals to gloss over last week’s reversal in Connacht. But Schmidt admitted that victory was not the be all and end all.
“I’m delighted with the result. The four points wasn’t the most important thing – though pretty important – I’m delighted by the performance. I thought (in) the first 55 minutes we deserved to be in front and we played some pretty good stuff.
“The last 25 minutes; it was a case of battening down the hatches and hanging in there, really.”