Ireland wait on Kearney injury

Date published: September 27 2015

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt came across as not overly concerned by Rob Kearney's injury in the second half of their win over Romania.

The veteran full-back departed with a knock after scoring Ireland's fifth try at Wembley on Sunday.

"Rob was involved in a high-speed play right after coming on and he's jarred himself up a bit through his glute and his hip when his knee hit the ground. We hope it's not too much. We should have a better picture tomorrow or Tuesday but for now we're just icing it," Schmidt said.

"The next 24 to 48 hours will tell ahead of next week, but we're hopeful that he's ok. Keith Earls passed his HIA and went back on. The plan was to replace him with 20 minutes to go anyway so Keith should be fine."

Schmidt singled out a number of individual players for their performances at the end of the 44-10 victory – in which Ireland secured their second try bonus point of the group stage.

"I thought there were a number of players who performed well. The midfield pairing worked well, Darren Cave got through plenty of work. Simon Zebo did well, his pass for Earls try was exceptional as was Keith's acceleration," he added. 

"Nathan White did a good job and it's fantastic to have Cian [Healy] taking the ball forward. He lost it a couple of times but each step forward for him is a positive for us. Devin called the lineouts well and dominated them too physically. The longer the game went on Chris Henry got into it more. Jamie led form the front and his early carries were strong, winning the collisions and getting us on the front foot."

Two tries from Earls drew him level with Brian O'Driscoll's all-time Rugby World Cup record of seven tries for Ireland but Schmidt believed that the Munster back would be keeping his feet on the ground.

Schmidt explained: "I know Keith well enough that he'll be fully focused on what it means for the team. 

"He took his tries well and he's played really well so far. It's nice for him to be mentioned in the same sentence as Brian O'Driscoll because I suppose that's the standard that any Irish back wants to reach.

Reviewing Ireland's first two games and their key clashes with Italy and France to come, Schmidt said that Ireland had handled being favourites well and that the knockout stages in a way began now for the Six Nations champions.

"I don't think you're ever totally satisfied. We've been imperfect, but it’s also a a difficult thing to play twice when you're heavily favoured to win well, because being favourites and getting the result are two different things as we’ve seen," said Schmidt.

"Romania make the game so tough for you because they're physically well put together. They're a fantastic collective group and it made it a tough afternoon's work for us.

"Qualification does start for us now, because winning three games pretty much secures going through, especially with bonus points we've accumulated. 

"Now it starts in earnest, because we can qualify if we win. italy know they need to win so it becomes a kind of top 16 game for us. The play-off nature then really begins."

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip paid special tribute to the Irish supporters who packed out Wembley, admitting the noise was overwhelming.

"It started earlier in the day. We've been spoiled by the facilities and from the balcony at the hotel it was like a green tide looking out from there," Heaslip said. 

"When we went for a walk in the reception there were Irish people there and it was pretty empowering to be honest. You try to block it out in the game but sometimes their energy bleeds through into the squad. It really picks you up when you're blowing hard and I couldn't even hear the interviewer at the end out on the pitch. 

"I thought ‘Ireland's Call’ last week was loud but this week was unbelievable and it's blown the squad away."