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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will have to plan without Iain Henderson for the upcoming RBS Six Nations.
Henderson suffered a significant hamstring tear in Ulster's Guinness PRO12 win over Edinburgh in December but it was hoped he would recover in time to play some part in Ireland's Six Nations defence.
While the 23-year-old is walking normally, Ulster coach Neil Doak has confirmed that he will miss the Six Nations and possibly the remainder of the campaign.
"It looks like Iain will be out for the remainder of the season," Doak confirmed. "It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is."
Schmidt will also be without Tommy Bowe for the championship as he continues his recovery from the torn posterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered in the World Cup defeat to Argentina, while Jared Payne remains a doubt due to the foot injury that brought his tournament to a premature end.