Ireland hit with rotten injury updates for Sean O'Brien, Adam Byrne and Tyler Bleyendaal
Just when things were starting to look so good.
Wales, France and England have all been dealing with injuries that will rule key players out of the Six Nations but this week appears to be Ireland's turn.
This afternoon's update from Leinster and Johann van Graan's comments about Tyler Bleyendaal, last weekend, means Joe Schmidt may have to re-jig his plans.
Leinster may have got their fans excited with the Champions Cup inclusions of Jordan Larmour and James Lowe, to face Glasgow, but their release on the team had a couple of worrying updates near the end.
'Seán O’Brien saw a specialist this week for the tightness in his hip as it hadn’t responded to treatment as we would have liked. As a result he had a small procedure and the target is to have O’Brien back available during the 6 Nations window.
'In addition Adam Byrne has gone through a period of rehab for a knee injury since the Guinness Series. He was not responding favourably to the conservative approach and as a result saw a specialist this week. He will have a procedure today and a return to play timeline will be formalised following his surgery.'
While Byrne looks unlikely to feature in the upcoming championship, O'Brien looks to be out of the first two games.
O'Brien looked to be playing on through unsettling pain during his recent outings for Leinster and Ireland and he spoke with us, last week at The RDS, about not rushing his comeback. He said:
"You learn as you get on a little bit that there's no point in... if it was a final this weekend then, yeah, you could push it up but with what lies ahead as well you'd be in doubt or probably do something worse to it.
"I've taken my time and just made sure it's right because there are loads of lads at the minute playing really well so there's no point in me going out there 50% when there are lads that are playing at 100."
The news on Bleyendaal is not encouraging either. Following Munster's resounding win over Connacht, van Graan could not give a definitive timeline on the Irish qualified outhalf's return to action.
"With Tyler," he said, "we take it week by week. He might be available in a week's time; it might take another six to eight weeks. We're very sensitive to him because of the type of injury. As soon as he feels he is ready to go, and the medical team clears him, we'll put him back in."
Schmidt still has a healthy choice of in-form players ahead of his extended squad announcement, later this month, but it is a shame that these three men look set to miss out on the opening rounds of action.
Episode 46 of The Hard Yards rugby podcast features an interview with former Ulster & All Blacks star John Afoa, while Wasps centre Brendan Macken joins Andy and Pat to talk Champions Cup and Ireland.
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