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Published: 13:18 | 20/6/16

Henshaw returns home for surgery

Centre suffers cartilage injury

Robbie Henshaw has been ruled out of Ireland's deciding test against South Africa next weekend after suffering a cartilage injury.

The 23-year-old centre suffered the injury in the 32-26 defeat in Johannesburg on Saturday and has now returned home for surgery. It is not known how long he will be out for.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has plenty of options in midfield and is unlikely to call up a replacement for the Leinster-bound player ahead of the decider in Port Elizabeth next Saturday.

"There are guys on standby so we can go back to them," Schmidt said.

"To be honest, if we can cover it internally we probably will at this stage. It's pretty difficult to get them up to speed and to get them down here is a bit of a mission even.

"They wouldn't be able to get down probably until the Monday or Tuesday morning depending on flights and then that's pretty late in the piece to suddenly launch yourself into a Test team.

"There are options with Luke Marshall still being in the squad. The first Test was Luke's first full Test for us for a long time and I thought he did a super job.

"He's played a fair bit at 13 this year so he would be one option, as would Jared Payne. He could slip back up into the 13 spot and Tiernan O'Halloran could go to 15.

"So they're some of the conundrums we'll try to sort out.

"We'll glue ourselves back together and have a look.

"The fatigue factor comes in, you try to get a lead in the next 48 hours on who is recovering and who is bouncing back and we'll leave all those decisions probably as late as possible.

"Some guys might still be a bit fatigued on Tuesday but we might want to give them a little bit more time and see how they go on Thursday and maybe even bracket a couple of guys if needs be."

Schmidt will be able to call on the services of CJ Stander following the completion of his one-match ban, while Mike Ross, Keith Earls, Jordi Murphy and Ultan Dillane are all pushing for inclusion in the matchday 23.

Eoin Reddan and Matt Healy, the only players yet to feature in th eopening two tests, could also be called up.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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