Dublin - Injured Ireland players Mike McCarthy, Sean O'Brien and Dave Kearney
are all in line to miss the remainder of the Six Nations Championship,
coach Joe Schmidt said on Friday.
Leinster lock McCarthy could be
out for the season after suffering concussion during defending champions
Ireland's 10-9 defeat by France in Paris last Sunday.
back-row forward O'Brien (torn hamstring) and wing Dave Kearney
(shoulder) are in line to miss Ireland's three remaining Championship
games, starting against England at Twickenham on February 27.
McCarthy has seen a specialist now and he's going to effectively
re-condition himself, freshen himself up to kick-start next season now,"
said Schmidt in comments published by the Irish Times after an open
training session in Mullingar on Friday.
"That's the latest word.
Maybe that's not the definitive word. I think just for him it's an
opportunity to freshen himself up a little bit and that will give him a
good entry point to next season."
As for O'Brien and Kearney,
Schmidt added: "Sean is likely to miss the rest of the Six Nations, as
is Dave Kearney, but we'll continue to monitor those guys and see how
France made no secret of their attempts to 'target'
Jonathan Sexton, who has a history of concussion injuries, in Paris last
There were fresh concerns about Sexton's fitness when
the outside half cut short his involvement in Friday's training session
after rolling his ankle.
But Schmidt said he saw no reason why at this stage his No.10 would not be fit to train on Monday.
just rolled his ankle," said Schmidt. "Johnny will be fit to train
Monday. The problem with rolling your ankle is if you do train on it -
and you can train on it - is that you just get more inflammation
whereas the sooner you stop the inflammation, in 48 hours' time you are
up and running so I wouldn't be concerned at all."
There have been
calls for Sexton to both do less tackling and change his style of
defending after he suffered neck and shoulder problems in Ireland's
opening 16-16 Six Nations draw with Wales, which he then aggravated at
the Stade de France.
But Schmidt, who said Sexton had recovered from those injuries, was wary of changing the stand-off's approach.
is fully loosened up," said the New Zealander. "Again, I suppose he put
himself in the line of fire because he doesn't take a step back. He is a
competitor. That's the nature of the beast and there is a lot of that
we don't want to change, to be honest."
While Ireland, bidding for
a third successive outright Six Nations title, have had a faltering
start this season, while England have won both their first two matches
under new Australian coach Eddie Jones courtesy of away victories
against Scotland (15-9) and Italy (40-9).