INJURIES to Ulster hooker, Rory Best and Leinster prop, Cian Healy have left Ireland with fresh concerns ahead of the November Guinness Internationals.
Best suffered a neck injury in Ulster’s PRO12 victory over Dragons in Newport on Friday night, while Healy has a shoulder problem after taking a knock against Cardiff Blues, also in the PRO12, on Saturday evening.
Both injuries are not thought to be “significant” with Best - who had a scan on Monday - being treated by the Ulster medics and reassessed today before joining the Irish training camp ahead of the opening Test against South Africa in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, November 10.
After the weekend’s domestic fixtures, Declan Kidney’s Irish squad looked distinctly weaker after injuries to the two key front row men and an bad ankle knock for Irish skipper, Brian O’Driscoll.
Kidney moved to call up reinforcements immediately on Sunday, sending an SOS to Ulster quad, Declan Fitzpatrick (prop) Paul Marshall (scrumhalf), Craig Gilroy (wing) and Paddy Jackson (outhalf) as well as Leinster hooker, Sean Cronin, prop, Michael Bent and Connacht winger, Tiernan O’Halloran.
Those players would all perhaps expect to be involved in the middle international of the series when an Ireland XV take on Fiji at Thomond Park, Limerick, on November 17.
However, Ulster prop, Fitzpatrick, should also find himself involved in the senior games against the Springboks and then Argentina on November 24.
Meanwhile, Irish captain, O’Driscoll, is expected to be fine ahead of the opening test in spite of taking what appeared to be a bad knock to his ankle in the win over Blues.
Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt said: “He (Brian) sprained his ankle. He was going to play on.
“In the end, we measured up the responsibilities that he has got coming up and we replaced him.
“We don’t think at this stage that it is too serious.”