Johnny Sexton is a doubt for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign after Leinster confirmed he was due to undergo a procedure on an injured cheekbone on Tuesday.
This year’s championship is expected to be the 37-year-old’s last but he now looks likely to miss Ireland’s opener against Wales on February 4th with a potential title-decider against France taking place a week later in Dublin.
[ Johnny Sexton’s upright tackling technique is again in the dock ]
It remains to be seen what part, if any, Sexton can play in the Six Nations but his absence at the beginning of the championship would be a big blow for Andy Farrell’s team who are looking to cement their status as the world’s No 1 ranked side with a first title since 2018.
Sexton sustained the injury in a nasty collision with Connacht’s Jarrad Butler in Leinster’s URC victory on Sunday. It was the outhalf’s first start for his province since October and he managed just one autumn internationals appearance for Ireland after he was a last-minute withdrawal from the victory over Australia. He remains a crucial fixture in Farrell’s side, however, having masterminded Ireland’s historic series victory in New Zealand last summer.
Farrell’s options at outhalf beyond Sexton include Munster’s Joey Carbery and Jack Crowley as well as Leinster’s Ross Byrne – all of whom featured for Ireland during the autumn.
“Sexton suffered a cheekbone injury during the game against Connacht Rugby and will have a procedure today and will be further assessed then,” Leinster said in a statement which confirmed Sexton’s unavailability for Saturday’s away fixture against the Ospreys. – Guardian