Luke McGrath ruled out of remainder of Six Nations

Meanwhile, Garry Ringrose will return to link up with Ireland squad on Monday evening

Ireland’s Luke McGrath will miss the rest of the Six Nations campaign. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland’s Luke McGrath will miss the rest of the Six Nations campaign. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

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Luke McGrath’s knee injury, which forced him off early in the second half of Leinster’s 20-13 win over the Scarlets, is not as serious as first feared. Although he has been ruled out of his province’s Guinness Pro14 game at home to the Southern Kings on Friday, and most probably the remainder of the Six Nations, the scrum-half is expected to return in time for Leinster’s European Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens at the Aviva on April 1st.

McGrath underwent a scan on Sunday, and a Leinster statement said he “is ruled out of the Southern Kings game and will be further assessed as the week goes ahead.”

Around about the same time an IRFU statement said: “Garry Ringrose comes in to train with the squad following the injury to Robbie Henshaw. ” However, the Irish centre was actually with Leinster today prior to training with his province in the afternoon.

Having been sidelined for six weeks with an ankle injury, Ringrose trained fully with his province last Friday and Leinster added that he “returns to full training this week from his ankle injury and will be further assessed this week ahead of selection this weekend.”

This suggests Ringrose may be linking up with the Irish squad at some point this evening or tomorrow, but that when push comes to shove it still seems likelier that he will make his return at the RDS on Friday rather than at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday when Ireland host Wales in the Six Nations. James Tracey also returns to full training this week after recovering from his elbow injury.

Sean O’Brien did some running with Leinster last week and will look to step up his rehabilitation further this week from a hip injury, but the odds must be against him featuring for Ireland against Scotland in two weeks’ time or England a week later, while there is increasing confidence that Jamie Heaslip might return in March or April.

In addition to McGrath, Leinster suffered further casualties against the Scarlets and given the six-day turnaround Rory O’Loughlin is unlikely to feature against the Kings as he observes the Return to Play Protocols.

Similarly, Ross Byrne must be considered very doubtful after suffering a bang to his hip which obliged him to pass the kicking duties over to debutant Skerries out-half Ciaran Frawley, who thus could make his full debut against the Kings.

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