Ulster Rugby have confirmed that Will Addison has undergone back surgery which puts an end to his season.
Addison hasn’t played since Ulster’s Heineken Champions Cup victory over the Leicester Tigers at Welford Road at the end of January.
The 26-year-old was named in Ireland’s initial squad for this year’s Six Nations but he didn’t play a minute of action throughout the tournament as he developed a back problem.
That has led to his subsequent surgery to rectify the issue and the northern province confirmed in a brief injury update today that it is hoped he will return in time for pre-season.
“Will Addison has had recent back surgery,” a statement read. “It is hoped that he will return to full fitness for pre-season.”
Generally, pre-season for the provinces begins in July while international players are re-introduced in August after playing international games in June.
Although there will be no June Tests this year, Ireland will play three World Cup warm-up games in August and a fourth at the beginning of September before Schmidt names his final squad as they depart for Japan.
If Addison can return to full fitness in time to stake a claim in the World Cup games, it may be enough to secure a spot on the squad but a lot will depend on the Ulster star’s recovery.