Sean O'Brien 'a bit grumpy' but showing no signs of concussion after Ireland win
A positive update after some uncomfortable viewing.
Their was a collective gasp around the Aviva Stadium, midway through the first half of Ireland's 19-9 win over England, when Sean O'Brien tried to stand, after taking heavy contact, before stumbling and falling.
The openside flanker had just rammed into George Ford when Luther Burrell laid a hefty hand on the crown of his head. O'Brien was assessed on the pitch by team medic Eanna Falvey before he was taken off for a concussion test and, subsequently, substituted.
Speaking post-match, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt revealed, 'We’re not quite sure how it happened, it was a head to head clash maybe.'
Schmidt added, 'He’ll go through the protocols so he’ll work his way through those. He’s asymptomatic at the moment, he’s fine and a bit grumpy that he didn't last out the match.'
One of the pleasing aspects, from a player safety point of view, was the urgent and no-nonsense approach Falvey took to withdrawing a clearly shaken O'Brien.
Schmidt said, 'That is part of the protocol. If someone does look unsteady on their feet or has, visibly, taken a knock to the head, you are compelled to bring them to the side, to check them out. We have a second doctor who is watching all the footage, and we get feedback from him as well... They are trying let us know how he took that knock or why he is unsteady. That can also contribute to the decision made by the match-time doctor.'
He added, 'I think the ball was in play at the time and Sean was looking to get back involved, which is admirable, but we've got to do what is most sensible. Eanna is very, very much looking to do what's best for player welfare.'
Schmidt revealed centre Jared Payne was doing well after appearing to be dazed by a hefty tackle. The coach said his fellow Kiwi was taken off as a precaution.'
As for Johnny Sexton, who reluctantly limped off after 54 minutes, Schmidt said, 'He just felt a twinge in his hamstring kicking that conversion, and again, we haven’t had that assessed yet so I can’t really comment to the severity or non-severity of that.'