Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will be a worried man after the first two games of the Six Nations Championship. The defending champions are yet to register a win in this season’s tournament, and things are not getting any easier as they face a trip to the lions’ den of Twickenham to face table-toppers England.
The French game last week was a bruising encounter, and Ireland are counting the costs of it dearly.
It was announced today that trio Sean O’Brien, Mike McCarthy and Dave Kearney will take no further part in the tournament.
The Leinster trio are major losses, and this reduces optimism ahead of the daunting trip to London next weekend.
McCarthy will play no further part on a rugby field this season, after a concussion consultation.
O’Brien and Kearney are ruled out with hamstring and shoulder injuries respectively.
It is not all doom and gloom on the injury front however, as Keith Earls, who was concussed during the drawn game with Wales, trained fully. Meanwhile Johnny Sexton is expected to be passed fit.
It is likely that Earls will assume the starting position of Kearney, but competition is high, as Simon Zebo also impressed against the Welsh.
Next week is a must-win for Ireland in order to boost confidence before the championship run-in.
However, England will be a tough proposition, playing at home for the first time in the Eddie Jones era, and several players are looking to make a case for themselves.
Hat-tip to RTÉ.