We’re already over halfway through September and with that, only two months away from the Autumn Internationals which take place in November. Ireland will face South Africa, Fiji and familiar foes, Argentina, in the penultimate month of 2017.
With Ireland securing impressive victories over USA and Japan during their June tour, in addition to their victory over England in this year’s Six Nations championship, expectations are high amongst the Irish rugby public ahead of the November series.
However, although Ireland’s strength in depth is arguably at its highest it has been in many years, they could well be without out some of their most experienced players ahead of those three Test matches in two months time.
Today, both Leinster and Ulster have released injury updates on their respective squads and they contain some news which Joe Schmidt certainly could have done without. It begins with Rory Best, the 2017 Lions tourist suffered a hamstring injury in training in the build-up to his side’s victory over Scarlets at the weekend. Best has undergone a scan and the northern province have confirmed that the Ulster captain will be out for 4-6 weeks.
Even worse for Leinster, both Rob Kearney and Dan Leavy have been ruled out for 4-8 weeks with respective hamstring and ankle injuries. Kearney was withdrawn at halftime in Leinster’s victory over the Cardiff Blues while Leavy left the field in the second half of that game too.
We are just under eight weeks out from Ireland’s opening fixture against the Springboks at the Aviva Stadium so Leavy and Kearney are serious doubts while Best will have little time to prove his fitness for the opening clash – that’s assuming his recovery goes to plan.
This latest news compounds an injury headache for Schmidt, Robbie Henshaw is in a race to be fit from a pectoral muscle injury he picked up while representing the British and Irish Lions and Ringrose isn’t expected back to action until December after undergoing shoulder surgery during the summer.
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