Henderson and Beirne to miss start of Six Nations

Ulster and Munster second rows sustained injuries in Champions Cup

Ireland will be without second rows Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne for at least the first two games of the Six Nations after both suffered injuries during their Champions Cup games over the weekend.

Beirne limped off injured during Munster’s Champions Cup win over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday and, following a scan, has now been ruled out of Ireland’s opener against England on Saturday February 2nd and the trip to Scotland the following week.

Henderson, who only returned from a lengthy lay-off with against Leicester on Saturday, sustained a finger injury at Welford Road with the province explaining on Monday that he will be out of action for “several weeks.”

“Iain Henderson suffered a finger injury that is likely to keep him sidelined for several weeks,” Ulster said in a statement. “This fresh injury is unrelated to his recently injured thumb.”


Connacht’s Quinn Roux has been called into the squad as a replacement.

After Munster’s win on Saturday, head coach Johann van Graan gave an update on Beirne.

“I haven’t looked at the replay again but I think somebody ran into his knee. I’ll have to look at it and obviously if he is in a jackal position, guys are going to target you,” he said.

“Under the laws of the game, you can target him. I don’t have any issues with that.

“The good thing is that he is getting into those positions every single time and that is something he does brilliantly.”

However, the 27-year-old second row has now been confirmed by the IRFU as missing the opening two games.

The Ireland squad head for Portugal this week for a training camp which Johnny Sexton will be included in despite missing Leinster’s win over Wasps on Sunday with an injury.

Adam Byrne will also travel for the training camp in place of Munster’s Andrew Conway who picked up a knock in the win over Exeter while Jack Conan and Dan Leavy will both continue their treatment at Leinster this week and should be fully fit to train next week.

Rob Kearney and Jack McGrath will remain with Leinster in order to gain game time in the Pro14 this weekend.