Sexton suffered whiplash in France defeat

Johnny Sexton (Gallo)
Johnny Sexton (Gallo)

Dublin - Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has revealed flyhalf Johnny Sexton suffered a whiplash injury to his neck and shoulder in Ireland's 10-9 Six Nations defeat against France.

Sexton appeared dazed as he left the Stade de France field after several questionable hits on Saturday, raising fears that he had sustained another concussion.

The 30-year-old was stood down for 12 weeks in late 2014 owing to four concussions inside 12 months, and has had several further head-injury concerns since.

But Schmidt has moved to downplay any concussion fears.

And Sexton continues to shrug off whatever hits come his way including neck trouble from a blow to the head in Ireland's 16-16 Six Nations draw with Wales two weeks ago.

"Johnny Sexton, with his neck and shoulder, it's more of a whiplash injury," Schmidt said on Monday.

"He is certainly feeling a lot better, 48 hours post-game."

On Monday, French second row Yoann Maestri was issued with a citing commissioner warning for using his shoulder in a tackle which lifted Sexton off his feet in the 13th minute of Saturday's match, saying the tackle fell 'just short of' warranting a red card.

Schmidt needs Sexton fit to face England at Twickenham on February 27 and will now allow the Leinster playmaker as much recovery time as possible.

Sexton had been a concussion doubt ahead of the Six Nations after a blow to the head in Leinster's defeat to Wasps, only for Ireland later to confirm he had passed all subsequent Head Injury Assessments (HIAs).

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