Ireland clear up reason for Darren Sweetnam's early substitution 4 years ago

Ireland clear up reason for Darren Sweetnam's early substitution

There was also an update on Jack Conan and Will Addison.

A pitch-side update from RTE was the source of an early understanding that Munster winger Darren Sweetnam was withdrawn as a tactical substitution after only 26 minutes of Ireland's 57-14 victory over the USA.


Sweetnam was tipping along nicely - 37 metres off two carries and one tackle completed - while Munster teammate Andrew Conway was making an early grab for the headlines with two tries. On 26 minutes, he left the field of play for Ross Byrne, necessitating positional switches for Joey Carbery and Will Addison.

Asked whether the change was tactical or for a Sweetnam injury, Joe Schmidt replied:

"No, no, it was definitely an injury. His back tightened. He was struggling to run... if you look at the minutes before he came off, he was really struggling.

"He's tough, Darren, and tried to play on, but he was pretty uncomfortable and when you're in that situation... we thought about giving Ross a decent amount of game-time tonight anyway, so the way it worked out, Joey's versatility is already well known. It meant we were able to move things around."

Journalists Brendan Fanning and Peter O'Reilly both sought clarification on the Sweetnam switch, noting that radio reports had the Cork native's substitution as "tactical" on the official replacement's sheet. It transpires that it was actually RTE TV's live coverage that noted the switch was tactical.


After stating that there s no direct, live line of communication between Ireland and RTE, Schmidt added, "No, Darren was pretty uncomfortable."

Leinster back-row Jack Conan has emerged as the big injury worry but Schmidt was trying to stay optimistic.

"Jack got a knock on the shoulder," said Schmidt on Conan. "They're probably going to have a look at that and get a picture of it tomorrow. Once he's been through the scanner they'll have a better idea.


"He's relatively comfortable in the changing room now, so that's a good sign, but he was given a decent jolt. So time will tell. Once he's been through the scanner we'll know more."

Will Addison was looking good at fullback and had 15 minutes on the left wing but he did not emerge for the second half. It was announced, over the public address system, that the Ulster back was undergoing a Head Injury Assessment. He did not return to play and Sam Arnold made his Test debut on the left wing.

Schmidt said Addison was 'chipper in the changing room' after the game but he will go through the Return To Play Protocols if, within the next 48 hours, his knock is classified as a concussion.