Nathan White’s ruptured tendon in his upper arm and James Cronin’s ankle injury bring the Irish propping crisis up to epidemic proportions.
It was revealed this evening that Cronin, after seeing a specialist about his ankle injury, has been ruled out for six weeks.
The confirmation followed this afternoon's news that White needs surgery on the arm he injured in training with Ireland this week, and is facing up to 16 weeks on the sidelines.
A former Waikato captain, White (33) was roundly tipped to make his test debut against the touring Springboks on November 8th.
The injuries leave Ireland severely stretched in the frontrow, especially at tighthead.
Mike Ross was not released by the Ireland camp for Leinster's game against Edinburgh at the RDS on Friday night, due to a groin problem that needed intensive treatment at the Santry sports clinic last week.
The 34 year old can scrummage but has ongoing trouble with lateral movement.
The Ireland camp expects the 41-test veteran to resume training next week. Ross has featured in only four games this season, the last being 45 minutes against Munster on October 4th.
He was replaced that night by Tadhg Furlong but the 21 year old aggravated a neck issue and also failed to finish the game.
Furlong starts for Leinster tomorrow with 20-year-old Peter Dooley promoted from the Academy as his understudy.
Michael Bent, another New Zealander controversially capped against South Africa two years ago before joining Leinster, has switched to loosehead after a torrid afternoon in Castres last Sunday.
Marty Moore, who broke into the Ireland squad last season, is at least 10 weeks off returning from a shoulder problem.
Rodney Ah You, yet another New Zealand born prop at Connacht, is now in line to add to the solitary cap he received, to less than widespread praise, on last summer's tour of Argentina.
Ah You starts for Connacht away to Ospreys tomorrow.
Munster's Stephen Archer is considered fit but it's unclear whether he will be released for the Cardiff game on Saturday.
Ulster tighthead Declan Fitzpatrick, who is regularly injured, is expected to make the bench for the Dragons visit to Belfast.
Cian Healy remains on the medium term injury list having torn his hamstring off the bone last month.
With loosehead cover being Dave Kilcoyne and Jack McGrath, Connacht’s Denis Buckley could be added to the training camp.
Ireland’s propping crisis
Mike Ross (groin) - could train next week.
Nathan White (ruptured tendon) - 16 weeks.
Marty Moore (shoulder) - 10 weeks.
Tadhg Furlong (neck) - passed fit.
Stephen Archer - passed fit but unclear if available for Munster on Saturday.
Declan Fitzpatrick - passed fit, expected to play for Ulster on Saturday.
James Cronin (ankle) - six weeks
Jack McGrath (arm) - training and playing through pain barrier.
Cian Healy (hamstring) - 4 months.