Ireland's Jordi Murphy is assisted from the field during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game at Kobe Misaki Stadium between Ireland and Russia in Kobe, Japan on Thursday. Christophe Ena/ AP
Ireland are determined that Jordi Murphy will be given the “best chance” to overcome a rib injury and remain at the Rugby World Cup.
The unfortunate Ulster back-row forward lasted just 26 minutes of Thursday’s error-strewn, 35-0 pool win over Russia, having only arrived in Japan a few days earlier to replace the injured Jack Conan.
“He’s going to get scanned today, and (that will) give an exact detail on what’s happened,” Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek, speaking to reporters on Friday, said of Murphy.
“We know it’s the ribs but that will determine once we get that back what his plan will be.
“The cartilage normally pops out, sometimes that can pop back in but that can be tender for a while... I think we’ll give him the best chance to get it right.”
Ireland captain Rory Best added: “You don’t like to see anyone going home, like happened with Jack last week.”
Ireland also have concerns over utility back Joey Carbery, a late withdrawal from his bench role on Thursday, because of ankle trouble.
Meanwhile star fly-half Jonathan Sexton, who returned to action on Thursday when captaining his country for the first time, played just 40 minutes before he was seen icing his leg after coming back from a thigh injury.
But after the match, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said: “Johnny’s all good.”
Fullback Rob Kearney, who failed a head injury assessment during last week’s shock 19-12 defeat by Japan — a match Sexton missed — was also substituted after 49 minutes.
“Rob is okay. We were going to give him 50 or 60 (minutes). He felt a little bit tight in the groin and we felt it was about time to take him off anyway,” explained Schmidt.
Ireland are still without star centre Robbie Henshaw since the beginning of the tournament with hamstring trouble and Chris Farrell is also sidelined with concussion.
The Irish do have a relatively long break, however, until their final Pool A game, against Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday, Oct.12, where a victory over the Pacific islanders will secure a place in the quarter-finals.
They are still smarting from their loss to Japan. Nevertheless, having launched their campaign with a 27-3 win over Scotland and then securing a losing bonus point against Japan, Ireland’s last-eight hopes remain in their own hands.
With the Rugby Championship being seen as little more than a World Cup warmup for the southern hemisphere’s top four nations the abridged tournament could produce a surprise or two amid the tinkering with tactics and selections.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus on Wednesday named a full-strength side to play Japan, as the two-time champions bid to put down a World Cup marker and avenge the biggest upset in the game’s history.
Ireland may go into the Rugby World Cup ranked number one in the world, but Scotland are not short of confidence and scent a possible upset in their opening Pool A match on Sunday.
Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep reached the third round at this year’s tournament and ended Kirsten Flipkens singles career in the process.
Jasprit Bumrah has been named as skipper and Rishabh Pant his deputy in the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma, who was ruled out with COVID-19, for the rescheduled final Test match against England scheduled to begin on Friday.
Nathan Lyon took his 20th five-wicket haul to bowl Sri Lanka out for 212 before Australia reached 98-3 at stumps on the opening day of the first cricket Test.