Jared Payne’s ‘bruised foot’ to rule him out until at least December
An update on Tommy Bowe’s injury never came from Ireland but is expected by Ulster
Jared Payne will not play for Ulster until at least December. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
The timeline of Jared Payne’s “bruised foot” becoming “structural damage” that required surgery leaves Ulster without their prized possession at least until December.
“He had an operation,” said Ulster coach Neil Doak. “Timeframe? No definitive return point at this stage. Like most things with bones there may be some structural damage there so who knows? It could be eight weeks. He’s had his surgery and is on the road to recovery.”
Payne was replaced by Paddy Jackson 58 minutes into the 44-10 victory over Romania on September 27th. That was his World Cup over but it took until October 10th before the injury was deemed serious enough for the Irish management to rule him out of the tournament.
On September 30th assistant coach Greg Feek said, “No, he didn’t train. He has a bit of a bruise so we’ll see how he goes.”
On October 1st Payne was ruled out of the Italy game, with Keith Earls named at outside centre and Luke Fitzgerald coming off the bench.
On October 5th , the Monday after that lacklustre win, Ireland manager Mick Kearney said: “The next 24 hours will give us a clearer picture of Jared Payne’s situation but we would be very hopeful he will be okay later in the week.”
At this point the injury was still labelled a “bruised foot.”
On October 7th, the Wednesday before Ireland played France, assistant coach Simon Easterby was asked what training Jared Payne did that morning.
“He took full part,” Easterby replied.
He took contact?
“Yep, yep,” Easterby elaborated.
Two days later, Friday October 9th, Joe Schmidt caught the media and presumably the French cold when naming Earls at centre instead of Payne. Again, a Ireland spokesman said Payne fully trained that morning and that it was a selection decision.
“A mix of the two [selection and injury],” Schmidt clarified. “We felt Keith played well last week amidst a flat effort...We felt if we put Jared back into the game on Sunday it may aggravate the foot. There was a bit of swelling post training on Wednesday.
“We’ll leave Jared for another week. We have another game next week and want a fully fit squad to choose from.”
The following morning (Saturday), while journalists were travelling to the Millennium stadium to watch Ireland’s Captain’s Run, an email dropped from the IRFU: “Following training on Wednesday, due to continued discomfort, Jared had further scans which revealed a foot fracture. He will be returning to Ireland for specialist opinion and will take no further part in the tournament. No decision on a replacement will be made until after Sunday’s fixture at the Millennium Stadium.”
With Earls, Fitzgerald, Robbie Henshaw, Ian Madigan and, ever so sparingly, Darren Cave providing enough centre cover, Payne was not replaced until October 17th when Johnny Sexton’s “very minor adductor strain” made it essential to bring scrumhalf cover, Isaac Boss, so Ian Madigan could fully focus on his outhalf duties.
An update on Tommy Bowe’s knee injury never came from Ireland but is expected by Ulster.
“It looked pretty bad on the day,” Doak added. “The Ulster boys don’t do things by half. Injury wise they are always flippin’ long term.
“It’s a bit frustrating...Luke (Marshall) was something innocuous and he tears a ligament. Obviously Stuart Olding is still out and now Jared and Tommy.”
Doak, speaking on Tuesday, was unable to confirm when the fit Irish players will be available for selection.
“They (Irish management) are trying to finalise a review of the competition. I don’t want to leave it too late because we obviously need to know what’s coming back and when they are coming back, hopefully by the end of this week I will definitely know.
“I hope it’s not as long as three weeks because we need to integrate our players as quickly as possible as these games are coming thick and fast. With the injury profile it’s already been disjointed when we get into a run of ten (straight) games who knows what the profile will be like.”
Les Kiss is also due in Belfast as the new Director of Rugby.
Meanwhile, Sexton is expected to make a fully recovery from the groin injury that saw him replaced by Ian Madigan 25 minutes into the French game and eventually denied him a chance to line out against Argentina in the quarter-final.
The 30 year old could wear a Leinster jersey for the first time in two seasons as early as the trip to Treviso on November 1st. If not he should feature against the Scarlets at the RDS on November 6th.