September 23, 2019 / 1:50 AM / a month ago

Rugby-Ireland's O'Mahony, Aki not ruled out of Japan clash

TOKYO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Ireland flanker Peter O’Mahony and centre Bundee Aki have not been ruled out of Saturday’s World Cup Pool A game against Japan after both passed the second of three head injury assessment (HIA) tests, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said on Monday.

O’Mahony and Aki exited Sunday’s impressive opening 27-3 victory over main pool rivals Scotland in the first half, after failing their initial HIA, but coach Joe Schmidt said they were symptom-free after the game.

However, under rugby’s concussion laws, neither player can train fully for six days after the knocks to the head, even if they pass the final assessment later on Monday.

The IRFU added that flyhalf Johnny Sexton, who relinquished kicking duties in the first half, did take a blow to the thigh but his move to the bench in the second half was for tactical reasons rather than injury related.

Flanker Josh van der Flier was replaced later on because of a cramp but is fit, the IRFU said. Backs Keith Earls, Rob Kearney and Joey Carbery, who ran out of time last week to prove their fitness for the first game of the competition, are also available to play. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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