Worrying news is emerging from the Ireland rugby camp on Tuesday, with reports that Ireland’s monster tighthead Tadhg Furlong could miss the crucial trip to Italy for their Six Nations clash on Saturday.
Furlong picked up a shoulder knock in their humbling defeat to Scotland in Murrayfield on the opening day of the championships, where the ‘Jukebox’ was one of the few shining lights of an otherwise lacklustre display from Joe Schmidt’s side.
Reported by the Irish Independent, team manager Paul Dean confirmed on Monday that the Wexford man was carrying a bruised shoulder but should be fit to train with the squad.
However, when the session began, Furlong was forced to sit out, thus calling into question his availability for the trip to Rome.
Ireland will be looking to rebound from their defeat to the Scots and in order to keep any hopes of championship glory alive only a bonus point win will do for the smarting Irish.
Furlong, 24, has been in imperious form this season for both Leinster and Ireland. Cementing his place as Ireland’s first choice tighthead, he has quickly become a fan favourite with his dominant scrummaging and full blooded tackles on opponents.
To lose the Wexford man now would be a bitter pill to swallow for Joe Schmidt. Already dealing with injuries to key players such as Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Trimble and Donnacha Ryan, the New Zealand native is faced with something of an injury crisis after only one round of the tournament.
Fans will be hoping now that Furlong can recover in time to take his place in the squad for the must-win clash with the Azzurri and get the feel-good factor flowing again.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
This week’s edition of The Oval Office, we discuss all things Six Nations with George Hook, Paul Williams from Rugby World magazine and former Ireland u-20 international Adam McBurney.