Ireland lose Luke Fitzgerald for Six Nations with knee injury
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/02/16 2:52pm
Ireland back Luke Fitzgerald will miss the Six Nations after suffering a knee ligament injury.
The Leinster three-quarter was hurt during Ireland's open training session at the Aviva Stadium on Friday, and could be sidelined for two months.
The 28-year-old, who has 34 caps to his name, impressed off the bench in Ireland's 43-20 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina, and would have been hoping to force his way into boss Joe Schmidt's starting line-up.
"Luke Fitzgerald has been ruled out of the Six Nations with a medial ligament injury to his knee," said Ireland's team manager Mick Kearney.
"He is expected to be out of action for six to eight weeks and at this stage no replacement has been called in. He was just doing a tackling drill at the Aviva on Friday and his foot got caught in the grass.
"It was fairly innocuous but very unfortunate and he's very unlucky to be out of the Six Nations. He was very upset and probably feared the worst. He'd had a very good injury run recently, had a great World Cup and was flying for Leinster."
Ireland open their campaign on Sunday when Wales visit Dublin.
They are already without Ulster wing Tommy Bowe, who is a long-term absentee with knee trouble.
Head coach Schmidt can still call on Andrew Trimble, Dave Kearney and Keith Earls for the wing, with Simon Zebo able to feature out wide or at full-back.
South Africa-born CJ Stander is set to make his Ireland debut in the Six Nations after completing his three-year residency qualification.
Flanker Sean O'Brien said his back-row colleague has already impressed in Ireland's pre-tournament preparations.
"He's fitted in very well, he's been good and he's listened and asked a lot of questions," said O'Brien.
"It's good to have him in the squad and it's going well. He's got a bit of everything to his game. He's a very skilful player.
"He's one of the leaders down in Munster and it's the same here. He's talking and communicating on the field and he's not too shy about things. It's nice to have a fresh voice around the place too."