Schmidt unhappy with O’Connell decision

Leinster coach felt that the Munster player had a case to answer over Kearney incident

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.


Leinster coach Joe Schmidt was damning in his reaction to the incident involving Paul O’Connell and winger Dave Kearney in last weekend’s PRO12 Match, which left the wing left the field unconscious. Schmidt said that he could not understand why O'Connell was not being cited.

Schmidt spoke before Leinster’s training session at UCD claiming that a dangerous precedent had been set in the game and that parents looking at the incident where the Munster lock kicked Kearney on the head, may have second thoughts putting thier children into rugby.

“I think the baseline that has just been created by the citing commissioner is an incredibly dangerous one,” said Schmidt. “90,000 hits on You Tube. That’s kids and parents. If that’s deemed by an individual to be an acceptable act on a rugby field…”

Schmidt continued to say that while nobody had any doubt about the quality of the man that O’Connell is or his intentions, but he was unequivocal about the dangerous nature of the incident and the way it was handled.

“I think any one who has been involved in an incident where someone has to leave the field in that condition…we can get into semantics, the toe, the shin, the foot….You just cannot fly hack near someone’s head like that.”

O'Connell was deemed to have no case to answer when an Independent Citing Commissioner reviewed the incident on Sunday.

Leinster confirmed that Kearney is set for a spell on the sidelines. hewas released from hospital on Sunday morning and will follow the return to play guidelines for head injury.

Gordon D'Arcy suffered a mild calf strain in the opening minutes of the game but it is hoped that the Ireland centre will be available for the trip to Italy next weekend, while second row Quinn Roux (dead leg) should also be back in the frame.

Try-scorer Brian O'Driscoll suffered cramp on his comeback game, but he was fit to finish the game, while Sean O'Brien received treatment to a cut above his left eye which required stitches. Neither is expected to prevent them from missing out on selection ahead of Friday's midday team announcement.

The province expect to have Fergus McFadden and Jonathan Sexton available, although this weekend's game is set to come a week too soon for back-row forward Jordi Murphy as he recovers from a broken hand. Heinke van der Merwe (knee) continues to receive treatment, while Eoin O'Malley is doubtful but making progress after his long term knee injury.

Sunday's fixture will raise money for the provinces of Emilia and Lombardia which were affected by an earthquake last year. The match will also be the first ever played at Stadio Citta del Tricolore in Reggio Emilia.