Injured Andrew Trimble ruled out of Scotland game
Winger’s right foot ‘a source of concern’ as Madigan set to start at outhalf on Saturday
Andrew Trimble has been ruled out of Ireland’s World Cup warm-up game against Scotland on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho
The cost of Ireland’s opening World Cup warm-up win over Wales could mount even further after it emerged that Andrew Trimble remains a significant injury concern. An initial scan on the right foot which forced him off after 35 minutes on Saturday and sidelined him for much of last season proved inconclusive, and hence the Ulster winger will have to undergo another scan to ascertain the full extent of the injury.
Ireland kicking coach Richie Murphy confirmed that that Trimble’s initial scan “was a little bit inconclusive. He is going for another scan tomorrow. Until we see what the result of that scan is we can’t really give you any further information.”
Trimble has definitely been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Scotland, and as regards his chances of making the World Cup squad of 31, Murphy admitted: “It is a source of concern because he has a sore foot. We’ll have to see where that is at.”
That it is related to the same injury which kept him out from October onwards last season and featured one abortive comeback, adds to those concerns. “The doc is trying to work away on that stuff at the moment,” added Murphy. “He can’t give us any more information than I’ve actually given you, so we need to get it rescanned and see if that comes up with a clearer picture.”
Against that, Luke Fitzgerald, Seán Cronin and Marty Moore have all completed their rehabilitation from shoulder operations and are expected to feature against the Scots. But while Cian Healy continues his individualised rehabilitation following neck surgery, the prognosis on his prospects of returning in time for the World Cup are much on a “week to week” basis and thus in the realms of the unknown.
Ireland’s kicking coach also gave the strongest of hints that Ian Madigan will assume the number 10 position against Scotland, with Johnny Sexton possibly on the bench in readiness for his return to the starting line-up with some other front-liners at home to Wales a fortnight subsequently. Paul O’Connell could also be involved this weekend, with Joe Schmidt to confirm his team and replacements tomorrow.
Asked if it was part of the management’s plans to look at Madigan at ten in these warm-up games, Murphy said: “Yeah, definitely part of our plans to see him at ten.”
Saturday would seem like as good a time as any.
As for Sexton, Murphy said: “We’ll have to see. He could feature this week but if it’s not this week it will be a couple of weeks’ time . . . It’s an individual process and what we have to try and do is match that with putting decent combinations together so you can see those guys playing in games.”
Murphy did report that Sexton, unsurprisingly, was in a good place after his prodigal return home from Racing Metro. “He’s going well, he looks very strong at the moment, his targets in the gym have been pretty good . . . He’s in a good place, happy to be home with his family who are delighted to be back in Dublin and he’s settling in quite nicely to Irish life again.”
Reflecting on Paddy Jackson’s performance against Wales, Murphy accepted that the Ulster outhalf needed a better return than four from seven. As for the first missed conversion of Jamie Heaslip’s try from in front of the posts, Murphy explained: “Paddy was blowing pretty hard in the first couple of minutes of his first game of the year.”
“But, I thought the answer to it straight after was pretty good. Paddy did well. He was assured. He ran the game plan in the manner we wanted it to be run, defended pretty well. His passing game was quite sharp. Some of his kicking was very good and there were a couple of loose ones there as well . . . but I think he put his hand up and is definitely an option for selection.”
Meanwhile Tommy O’Donnell was being accompanied home by his mother yesterday from Wales by ferry, after suffering his dislocated hip. On Twitter he said it was “a tough pill to swallow” and thanked the medical staffs of both the IRFU and University Wales.
“It’s pretty horrific,” said Murphy. “You see over the last five or six weeks he has given everything that he’s got. Tommy’s attitude to training, his professionalism, was incredible, fantastic. His work-rate is second to none. Not that you like to see any player get injured, but he was going for this all-out and it’s terrible. The human side to it is, I suppose, that everyone is very disappointed for him to be ruled out like that.”
The anticipated reduction from 46 players to around the 28 or 39 mark is still expected to happen before the end of the week, and in the meantime Ulster’s Rob Herring and Leinster’s Noel Reid have been released back to their provinces this week.