Sexton, Kearney and D’Arcy all set for return-to-play protocols

THE IRFU HAVE confirmed that Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, Rob Kearney and Gordon D’Arcy all underwent Head Injury Assessments [HIA] during Ireland’s 26-23 victory over Australia.

All four players suffered blows to the head at the Aviva Stadium, with D’Arcy failing to return to the pitch after being withdrawn for Ian Madigan in the 59th minute.

The inside centre appeared to suffer his suspected concussion while carrying the ball into a firm Matt Toomua tackle, after which team doctor Eanna Falvey calling the 34-year-old ashore for his assessment.

Sexton and Kearney clashed heads as they combined to tackle Adam Ashley-Cooper wide on the left in the 77th minute, although both players struggled to their feet and attempted to play on as the Australians attacked.

Fortunately, play did not return down the left-hand touchline before Michael Hooper knocked on and Robbie Henshaw kicked clear. Kearney and Sexton were replaced during the next break in the game.

Murray took a blow to the head while sweeping back to clean up a Quade Cooper kick in the 68th minute, although he initially played on after that incident.

Just two minutes later, Falvey communicated to referee Glen Jackson that he wanted to remove Murray from the field of play for the HIA, with Eoin Reddan replacing the scrum-half.

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Murray did return in the 76th minute after passing that assessment, and completed the remainder of the game.

An IRFU medical update this evening says Sexton, D’Arcy and Kearney “were assessed again today by the Irish medical team” and will “complete the HIA process with a further assessment after 48hrs” before following the return-to play-protocols at their respective club/provinces.

There was also mention of a shoulder scan for fullback Kearney after a knock in that area against Australia.

Murray was also “assessed today and will be assessed again after 48hrs as he completes the HIA process.”

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