Leo Cullen admits Johnny Sexton removal was precautionary

Leinster and Ireland outhalf lasted just 18 minutes of win over the Dragons

Johnny Sexton is replaced by Ross Byrne after 18 minutes of the Guinness Pro 14 game against the Dragons at  the  RDS. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Johnny Sexton is replaced by Ross Byrne after 18 minutes of the Guinness Pro 14 game against the Dragons at the RDS. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Leo Cullen has allayed concerns over the leg injury which forced Johnny Sexton to leave the field just 18 minutes into their bonus-point win over the Dragons, suggesting it was a precautionary measure.

“He’s fine,” Cullen said of the Leinster and Irish outhalf and captain. Asked if it was more of a precaution, Cullen said: “Johnny’s a precaution, yeah.”

Ciarán Frawley also went off with what was announced as an HIA, although Cullen said it was “a bang on his eye” while the replacements Andrew Porter and Max Deegan, like Sexton, all went off with knee injuries, with Deegan’s the cause of most concern at this stage.

“We’ll see the extent of all three tomorrow. “I think they’re okay. Max looked the one – it’s his knee I think. The other two didn’t seem to be too bad.”

In their first competitive game at the RDS since beating Glasgow 55-19 in February, the absence of supporters made for another surreal occasion.

“It’s strange,” said Cullen. “First and foremost, we’d love to have our big crowd of support, that’s the big thing we miss. When the final whistle goes, it’s silence in the ground.

“But overall I thought the guys showed good intent to play and good energy, forced a lot of pressure on Dragons both sides of the ball. First half was good, obviously a few disruptions to deal with and manage. Ross [Byrne] and Tommy O’Brien came in, Tommy after 10 minutes, so overall we’re pleased to get a win to get up and running.

“We’ve got a bonus-point win on the board and now we move onto the challenge of Treviso, a big, physical team. We saw their result in Ulster and we played them a lot last season, they were in our group in Europe.

“It’s another big week for us and then we have a sort of break, the national guys will go off into camp for a new challenge so next week is probably the last opportunity for a lot of guys to put their hand up for selection for that as well.”

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