Ireland lose another skipper to injury
Tue, 06 Mar 2012 00:00
Ireland suffered a double injury blow when it was announced that captain Paul O'Connell and scrumhalf Conor Murray will miss the last two Six Nations matches through injury.
O'Connell has a left knee injury which he suffered during the second-half of the 17-17 draw with World Cup finalists France on Sunday in Paris while his Munster clubmate Murray also has a knee injury which forced him off in the second-half.
O'Connell - who was captaining the Irish in the tournament because of an injury to another talisman Brian O'Driscoll - is expected to be out for up to six weeks which will affect Munster's hopes of a third European Cup win.
Munster host fellow Irish province Ulster in the quarterfinals over the weekend of April 6-8.
O'Connell, 32 and an 84 cap veteran, and Murray, who started all three of their Six Nations games this season having gained the first choice slot at the World Cup last October, will miss next Saturday's home game against Scotland and the away trip to England the following weekend.
The Irish called up scrumhalf Tomas O'Leary - who had a disastrous season last year when he lost both his place in the Munster side and the Irish World Cup squad to Murray - and Connacht forward Mike McCarthy as replacements.
Ulster hooker Rory Best is the favourite to succeed O'Connell as skipper with Ireland set to name their team for the Scotland game on Wednesday.
"Paul O'Connell underwent a scan on his left knee after twisting it during the game," read an IRFU statement.
"The scan has shown that he has picked up an injury to his medial collateral ligament. The injury will also rule him out of the next two games with an expected three-six week recovery period.
"Conor Murray was replaced in the 59th minute after falling awkwardly on his right knee.
"A scan has revealed bone bruising in the joint and while there has been no significant damage done to his ligaments, the injury does rule him out of contention for the remaining two games of the championship with a expected three-four week recovery period."
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