The physicality stakes were high in the Aviva Stadium
Ireland endured a punishing amount of hits in their first Six Nations game of 2016.
Keith Earls was withdrawn in the second half with a suspected concussion, which if confirmed, will be his third head trauma injury since the World Cup. Johnny Sexton was substituted after receiving a knock but Joe Schmidt stated after the game that this was not thought to be serious. Tommy O'Donnell also departed the pitch in similar circumstances to Sexton.
Ireland emerged with a draw in the end but the recovery time will be somewhat limited as they are scheduled to travel to France next Saturday for their next Six Nations outing.
Further to that, Ireland will also have to travel to Twickenham on February 27 for their date with England which is followed by two home games against Italy on March 12 and Scotland on March 19 to conclude their Six Nations campaign.
Oh no. Keith Earls head injury— Patrick McCarry (@patmccarry) February 7, 2016
In their new live stream on Independent.ie, Tom McGurk and George Hook took issue with the Six Nations fixture schedule and branded it as too demanding.
McGurk began by saying:
''Let me just say in passing, considering what those bodies have been through this afternoon, the people who run this game and the people of the Six Nations expect those guys to perform in six days’ time all over again?''
''That is cruel, it would be cruelty to animals if you did it to them. It is exceptionally cruel and unacceptable and it is being driven that way by the demands of television listings and the demands of the club owners and it is not acceptable George.”
George Hook echoed McGurk's sentiments and responded with:
''No it isn't and the thing is in a way there is a real morale dilemma for people who watch this game now. Do we, like ancient Romans, watch a sport which is essentially about brave men beating the hell out of each other or do we watch a sport which is about the exposition of skill and talent. I think slightly we're going in the wrong direction. You're right. Six days is absolutely unfair.''