Boost for injury-ravaged Ireland as Sexton is cleared to return
IRB protocols for concussion to be adhered
Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare 11/3/2013Jonathan Sexton during today's trainingMandatory Credit �INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
The usual recovery period is four to six weeks. Saturday’s match at the Stadio Olimpico will come 34 days after Sexton pulled up lame during the 12-6 defeat to England.
Craig Gilroy will also resume full contact, after a groin strain, and is due to replace his replacement on the right wing, Fergus McFadden, who is ruled out with a fractured rib. Fullback Robbie Henshaw and centre Darren Cave return to the training squad after concussion, having both been rested for at least two weeks, a luxury that’s not expected to be afforded Brian O’Driscoll or Luke Marshall.
The new Irish midfield partnership will adhere to the IRB protocols with regards head trauma this week. That’s the main reason for Declan Kidney postponing team selection until Thursday.
Marshall sustained a concussion on Saturday from a French player clearing a ruck, while O’Driscoll was hurt tackling 19 stone Clermont prop Vincent Debaty.
Body on the line
“I asked him why he wanted to tackle Debaty twice in a row – I thought he had more smarts than that,” joked attack coach Les Kiss at yesterday’s media briefing in Carton House. “But, look, he is a warrior, he puts his body on the line week in, week out. We all know that.
“It’s amazing what he does pull from his reserves all the time, so I’ve no doubt he’s going to do everything right to be there at the weekend.
“He’s not talking like he isn’t going to be there at the moment, he’s talking like he’s going to be there, that’s for sure.”
In order to play against Italy, O’Driscoll and Marshall must match the scores they registered on a cognitive test in the pre-season (when they weren’t concussed). They can re-do the test until they pass.
The IRB rules state: “If a Medical Practitioner (with the assistance of a healthcare professional, as applicable) is managing the recovery of the player it is possible for the player to return to play after a minimum of six days having successfully followed and completed each stage of the Graduated Return To Play protocol.”
O’Driscoll’s other injuries, stitches to a lacerated ear and a dead leg, rather than ankle damage as initially feared, are also expected to clear up.