Jared Payne to miss start of Ireland's Six Nations campaign
Last Updated: 01/12/16 4:14pm
Jared Payne has been ruled out of more than half of Ireland's Six Nations campaign.
The Ulster centre was injured during Ireland's recent Test win against Australia, and further examination has revealed kidney damage.
A statement from Payne's club said he is expected to miss three months, a timescale that would see him sit out three of his side's five Six Nations games.
Ireland kick off with away games at Scotland and Italy before hosting France at the Aviva Stadium.
The best-case scenario would see Payne return for a March 10 trip to Wales and a potential Grand Slam decider against England in Dublin eight days later.
The New Zealand-born back will also miss a string of important games for Ulster including this month's European Rugby Champions Cup double-header with Clermont Auvergne.