Ireland’s Rugby World Cup preparations have suffered a major blow with news that out-half Jonathan Sexton has sustained a serious thumb injury.
The World Rugby Player of the Year is unable to participate in full training after suffering the injury during the first training camp last month and could be out for between four and six weeks.
It is hoped that Sexton, a key figure in Ireland’s hopes of progressing to the latter stages of the tournament, will be back in time for the opening World Cup warm-up game against Italy at the Aviva Stadium on August 10th.
The injury, believed to be a dislocated thumb, should not threaten his prospects of taking part in the tournament itself which starts in Japan on September 20th.
Sexton’s absence offers a chance for Joey Carbery, Jack Carty and Ross Byrne to stake their claim for a place in the final 31-man squad which is set to be named after the final warm-up game.
Carbery is nailed on to travel barring injury, with Carty and Byrne battling it out for the expected third slot.
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