Andy Farrell is anxiously awaiting injury news on Cian Healy ahead of naming his World Cup squad after the veteran prop hobbled off during Ireland’s underwhelming 17-13 success over Samoa.
Loosehead Healy had to be helped from the field by medics in rain-soaked Bayonne, having suffered a calf issue which left him in obvious distress.
Head coach Farrell is poised to announce his final 33-man selection for the upcoming tournament in France on Sunday afternoon in Dublin.
Second-half tries from Conor Murray and Rob Herring saw Ireland scrape a record 13th straight win after Samoa threatened an upset at Stade Jean Dauge by battling back to lead following Jimmy O’Brien’s maiden Test score.
“Well, you saw what I saw – he pulled up sharpish, didn’t he, and then struggled to walk off,” Farrell said of Healy.
“It’s his calf so there’s something going on there but rather than guess we have to take a picture and see how it goes.”
Asked if he is hopeful Healy will be available to go to the World Cup, Farrell added: “I don’t know, I wouldn’t know.
“We’ll get him back to Dublin and get him scanned and we’ll know soon enough.”
Healy departed just 21 minutes into his 125th Test outing to add to Ireland’s front-row concerns.
Fellow loosehead Dave Kilcoyne and hookers Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher are already undergoing treatment for ongoing injury issues, although the trio are expected to be available in the coming weeks.
Ireland hold on to continue their unbeaten 2023!
Final score Ireland 17-13 Samoa. pic.twitter.com/nbhvqMG7nQ
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) August 26, 2023
Keith Earls pulled out ahead of the game due to a niggle, while his replacement Jacob Stockdale felt a hamstring problem.
Opening try-scorer O’Brien (clavicle) and centre Robbie Henshaw (shin and ankle) were also feeling the effects of a physical encounter in south-west France.
Farrell, who was generally upbeat on those issues, praised his players for not panicking as they avoided an upset to maintain momentum.
“Delighted to get the win,” he said. “It was a proper Test match, wasn’t it? I said during the week that it would be good if it rained to find out about ourselves.
“It was difficult conditions and things weren’t always going to go your way, especially against a good side like that. They’re going to shock a few teams.
“In the end, I was pleased with our mentality – as in no panic, finding a way.
“Test matches are tough to win in conditions like that and we managed to find a way again. I’m pleased really.”
Duncan Paia’aua’s fine breakaway try and eight points from the boot of Lima Sopoaga had Samoa in front until 17 minutes from time.
Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua wants his players to be more clinical at the World Cup, having been inspired by Fiji’s historic Twickenham win over England earlier on Saturday.
Mapusua’s men complete their Pool D campaign against Steve Borthwick’s side in Lille in early October.
“There’s definitely a lot to take from today,” he said. “We’ll take a lot of confidence out of that.
“A harsh lesson to learn but we’ve got to nail our opportunities when we get them.
“At the World Cup, we might only get one (chance) in a game, so we’ll definitely take those lessons on board.
“Seeing Fiji not just beat England but in the manner they did, was really inspiring for all of us Pacific islands.
“It’s encouraging to see where our teams in the Pacific are heading. It was awesome to see them make history today.”