Ireland winger Rob Kearney is an injury concern for the crunch Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Italy after suffering a glute and hip in the 44-10 win over Romania. Kearney injured himself in scoring the fifth of Ireland's six tries in front of a record crowd at Wembley Stadium, and was replaced by Conor Murray in the 71st minute.
Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe both scored twice, before Kearney and Chris Henry went over late on after Romania were reduced to 14-men through Csaba Gal's untimely yellow card. But victory which gives Ireland maximum points from their first two games and sees them head into the clash with the Azzuri knowing a win will guarantee a place in the quarter-finals was overshadowed by the potential loss of Kearney, who will be assessed before his fitness can be fully determined.
"Rob was involved in a high speed play immediate after coming onto the pitch," coach Joe Schmidt explained. "Just as he scored the try he jared himself up a little bit but hopefully it is not too much. I guess the next 24-48 hours will tell whether he's done anything that makes him a doubt for next week but we hope at this stage he is ok.
"Through his glute and his hip really," the New Zealander added. "So it might have been when his knee hit the ground, it might have been just been in the acceleration he's felt like he's jarred himself up a little bit. I think we'll be able to give you a better picture tomorrow or Tuesday but at the moment he is just icing his glute and we're hopeful he is going to be ok."
Meanwhile Earls, who had initially been replaced by Kearney to undergo a head injury assessment, will be available after passing the test despite his reintroduction being followed by a late substitution. "Keith Earls is fine he passed the HIA [head injury assessment] and was put back on the field. The plan was to replace him with Rob Kearney with 20 minutes to go so against Keith should be fine."