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Cian Healy injury blights narrow Ireland win over Samoa in World Cup warm-up

By PA
Ireland's prop Cian Healy leaves the pitch after getting injured during the pre-World Cup rugby union test match between Ireland and Samoa on August 26, 2023 at Jean-Dauger stadium in Bayonne. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU / AFP) (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Cian Healy suffered an injury scare on the eve of Ireland’s World Cup squad announcement during an unconvincing 17-13 success over Samoa in rain-soaked Bayonne.

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Veteran prop Healy was helped from the field in obvious discomfort less than 24 hours before Andy Farrell names his final 33-man selection for the upcoming tournament in France.

Keith Earls was ruled out of Ireland’s final World Cup warm-up match against Samoa in Bayonne due to an injury niggle, handing a chance to fellow wing Jacob Stockdale.

Ireland led 7-0 at the midway point of the opening period following Jimmy O’Brien’s maiden Test try.

A fine Conor Murray tackle denied Samoa an early lead before Jack Crowley’s pinpoint cross-field kick allowed Hansen to gallop down the right wing and give full-back O’Brien a simple finish.

Points Flow Chart

Ireland win +4
Time in lead
46
Mins in lead
23
57%
% Of Game In Lead
28%
71%
Possession Last 10 min
29%
0
Points Last 10 min
0

Ireland ended a disjointed first half 10-7 behind after Samoan full-back Duncan Paia’aua intercepted a Stuart McCloskey pass inside his own half to brilliantly race clear and dive over.

Fly-half Lima Sopoaga added the conversion and a subsequent penalty.

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The turnaround on the scoreboard came after Farrell’s men suffered a setback in the 21st minute when hobbling prop Cian Healy was helped from the field by medical staff in obvious discomfort.

Ireland’s performance was far from convincing, and they still trailed with an hour played.

A second penalty from former Wasps fly-half Sopoaga stretched Samoa’s advantage before Stockdale’s kick over the top was gleefully dotted down by the diving Conor Murray.

However, Crowley’s wayward conversion left Ireland a point behind at 13-12.

Replacement hooker Rob Herring claimed Ireland’s third try of the evening and they held on for an unconvincing 17-13 success.

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Jon 1 hours ago
Sam Cane was unfairly cast in Richie McCaw's shadow for too long

> McCaw’s durability and sustained excellence were unique, but we seemed to believe his successors were cut from the same cloth. It’s easy to forget McCaw was just as heavily critiqued for the last two years of his career. The only real difference was his captaining criticisms and his playing criticisms happened at different times, where Cane was criticized for a few things in both areas for all of his last 4 years. This was also heavily influenced by another McCaw esque presence, in Ardie Savea, being in the team and pushed out of his original position. It could be said we essentially didn’t have the 3 prior years with Ardie as world player of the year because he was changing into this new role. I say “original” position as despite him never coming out and saying his desire is to perform his role from, that I know of, clearly as part of a partnership with Cane as 7, I don’t think this was because he really wanted Cane’s playing spot. I think it most likely that it comes down to poor All Black management that those sort of debates weren’t put to bed as being needless and irrelevant. It has been brought up many times in past few months of discussions on articles here at RP, that early calls in WC cycles, to say pigeonhole an All Black team into being required to have a physical dynamo on defence at 7 (and ballplyaer at 8 etc) are detrimental. In the end we did not even come up against a team that threw large bodies at us relentlessly, like why we encountered in the 2019 WC semi final, at all in this last WC. Even then they couldn’t see the real weakness was defending against dynamic attacks (which we didn’t want to/couldn’t give 2019 England credit for) like the Twickenham Boks, and Irish and French sides (even 10 minutes of an English onslaught) that plagued our record and aura the last 4 years. It really is a folly that is the All Blacks own creation, and I think it pure luck, and that Cane was also such a quality All Black, that he was also became an integral part of stopping the side from getting run off the park. Not just rampaged. > The hushed tones, the nods of approval, the continued promotion of this nonsense that these men are somehow supernatural beings. I bet this author was one of those criticizing Cane for coming out and speaking his mind in defence of his team that year. Despite the apparent hypocrisy I agree with the sentiment, but I can only see our last captain as going down the same road his two prior captains, Read and McCaw, have gone. I am really for Cane becoming an extra member to each squad this year, June, RC, and November tours, and he is really someone I can see being able to come back into the role after 3 seasons in Japan. As we saw last year, we would have killed for someone of his quality to have been available rather than calling on someone like Blackadder. Just like the Boks did for 2023.

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