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Player welfare the priority with head injuries

By Frank Quinn
NEWS that Marty Moore has confirmed that he is leaving Leinster to join Wasps at the end of the season almost coincided the IRFU announcement that he is out of the Six Nations through a hamstring injury. Connacht’s Finlay Bealham has been brought into the Ireland squad as a result.
There was better and more relieving news regarding Jonathan Sexton (pictured) who has sailed through his HIA 1 and HIA 2 (medical terms) and will complete HIA 3 tomorrow for, presumably, a clear bill of health.
Robbie Henshaw has suffered no ill-effects after playing for Connacht at the weekend.
The former St Mary’s number ten’s career is on a tight rope at present after a number of concussion scares and there are now genuine fears about Sexton’s future in the game should he receive any further head injuries.
It is understandable that any Six Nations coach would want him on their starting fifteen but there could yet be some soul-searching about starting him against Wales in two weeks time.

So, the last eight of this season’s European Champions Cup will be fought out by teams from France and England which should keep both unions happy. A look at some of the attendances of the week-end shows how the competition misses the magnificent support of the Irish provinces, particularly at away fixtures.

Saracens, beaten in two semi-finals and one final, have learned a lot about Euro rugby under the guidance of McCall. Can they go the full distance in 2016?  Wasps are mid-table in the Aviva  Premiership but they looked good against Leinster while Exeter are there on merit despite not having major sponsors. It would appear that RFU is  helping to build up the “country teams” of Gloucester, Bath and Exeter.

How are they doing it, Are we looking closely enough at their formula. It appears that the Irish game in general has gone stale since the disappointment of the World Cup.

I would like to be at the next board meeting at Toulon. The fans and the owners are not getting value for money this year from “the pensioners.” Maybe Paul O’Connell will liven things up for them when he makes his long-awaited debut.

|The Leinster situation is also quite worrying. Leo Cullen is down to 15-20 of his regular pros for the away game to Dragons this week and he is not relishing it.

Future thinking has to be to curtail international training/get together time to a week or mid week and releasing non-match squad players quickly in game week.In this regard, the RFU has an agreed system.

 

Injuries and Ireland call-ups are certainly going to put pressure on the provincial sides over the coming weeks where Pro 12 League points could be crucial.

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