Dublin – Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said he was “hopeful” about Joey Carbery’s fitness after the fly-half suffered an ankle injury in Saturday’s 29-10 victory over Italy in their first warm-up Test ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Carbery, starting instead of the rested World Player of the Year Johnny Sexton, was carried off the field with half an hour of play remaining after he was trapped under a heap of bodies.
“It looks like a ligament injury in the ankle, the ankle looks pretty stable, we’d be hopeful it wouldn’t be too bad,” Schmidt told Irish broadcaster RTE.
“It’s an ankle sprain, there’s no fracture so that’s a promising first sign.
“We’re going to have to wait probably 48 hours to see whether he needs a scan and if he does we need to let the swelling go down.”
The hosts, who were without Schmidt during the week after he had returned to his native New Zealand due to a family bereavement, made a sloppy start to proceedings in front a meagre crowd at the Aviva Stadium.
Italy claimed an early 5-0 lead after Maxime Mbanda’s 13th-minute unconverted try.
Carbery dotted down five minutes later and converted his own score.
Conor O’Shea’s side then re-took the lead with a Carlo Canna try before two Ireland tries from Dave Kearney and Andrew Conway claimed a 19-10 half-time lead for the home side.
Their advantage was extended five minutes into the second half with Jordi Murphy touching down but Carbery missed the conversion.
The Munster outside-half was then taken off the field on a cart on the 50-minute mark and was replaced by Jack Carty.
Schmidt’s side then touched down for a fifth time as substitute scrum-half Kieran Marmion charged down an Ian McKinley attempted clearance with 17 minutes remaining for the final score of the game.
Ireland continue their preparation for the World Cup by facing England in two weeks’ time at Twickenham before back-to-back games against Wales the following two Saturdays.
They face hosts Japan, Scotland, Russia and Samoa in their pool at the World Cup.
Italy play Russia next Saturday before taking on France on August 30 and England the following Friday, before facing defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Canada in their World Cup group.