McFadden hand fracture adds to Ireland’s tale of injury woe
Ireland are already missing three wingers – Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Craig Gilroy
Ireland’s Rob Kearney before leaving the field with a rib cartilage injury late on in the Guinness Series match against Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The fullback is unlikely to be fit to face the All Blacks on Sunday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Scarred by the scale of the defeat to Australia, and already resigned to the likelyhood of losing Jonathan Sexton for Sunday’s meeting with the almighty All Blacks, Ireland’s injury crisis on the wings has been exacerbated by Fergus McFadden apparently suffering a fractured hand.
As their last match in the Guinness Series falls on a Sunday, the Irish squad only re-assembled at Carton House last night, and manager Mick Kearney will give an up-to-date medical bulletin in the fall-out from the 32-15 defeat to Australia last Saturday at lunchtime today.
However, it would seem McFadden, one of Ireland’s better performers last Saturday, when he was comfortably the team’s leading ball-carrier with 132 metres gained, will be sidelined for a few weeks.
Already missing three wingers who have represented Ireland in the last year – Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Craig Gilroy – this leaves Dave Kearney and late call-up Luke Fitzgerald as the only other potential wingers in the squad.
Furthermore, Rob Kearney remains a doubt due to the rib cartilage injury which forced his departure seven minutes from time against Australia, even though Joe Schmidt said in the aftermath of the game it was not as bad as it first looked.
Given Kearney is unlikely to train for a few days at the very least, the likelihood remains the Ireland management have already added re-enforcements to their diminishing stock of outside backs, perhaps, with Felix Jones called up.
Pending confirmation today, Sexton’s hamstring injury may not be as bad as first feared on Saturday night, when word from the camp was he had suffered a torn hamstring.
But even if a scan has cleared him of a tear, and he will be given every chance of playing against New Zealand given his importance to the team, the odds against him playing must be considerable.
O’Driscoll expected to play
Although Brian O’Driscoll appeared to suffer a calf injury in the early exchanges, before insisting he could return to the field of play after being temporarily replaced, he is expected to play.
O’Driscoll’s below par performance was notable for one defensive miss-read, but having had just one outing under a new defensive system at Leinster, this was only his second game under a new defensive system.
“Of course he is under-cooked,” maintained his Leinster coach Matt O’Connor yesterday. “That’s his third game this year. He is still finding his feet. It wasn’t a great night for him, he didn’t get too many opportunities, but that wasn’t his doing, that was just the way the game went.
“Every game that Brian plays is just a huge positive for us. If we get him back with three Test matches under his belt moving into the Heineken Cup then that’s a good place for us.”
Paddy Jackson seems the likeliest choice at outhalf should Sexton be ruled out, although similarly, O’Connor jumped to Madigan’s defence.
“He hasn’t played a lot of footie either but I thought Mads played quite well. It was a tough ask at that stage of the game, he probably hadn’t done that much training because Johnny has been there. But I thought he handled himself quite well. It will be interesting to see what happens this week.”