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Sexton & McCarthy add to Ireland’s injury troubles

Jonny Sexton and Mike McCarthy have both been ruled out of Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Scotland on the 24th March through injury.

Sexton has a hamstring strain, while second row McCarthy has a medial ligament strain, leaving him with his leg in a protective boot for at least a week.

The two Irishmen join winger Simon Zebo on the sidelines. Zebo sustained a broken metatarsal in the first half against England at the Aviva Stadium and ha undergone surgery on the foot.

The Irish medical team has estimated that he will ben out for roughly ten weeks, meaning that he will miss the rest of the Six Nations campaign, and leaving the rising star sweating on a return to full match fitness in time for the Lions tour in June.

Ireland will also be without their loosehead prop, Cian Healy, after the Leinsterman was given a two game ban, starting against Scotland, for his stamp on England’s Dan Cole on Sunday.

It is actually McCarthy’s injury that will probably cause the most headache’s though, with Ireland already suffering a second row injury crisis that has seen Paul O’Connell and Dan Tuohy ruled out too.

Welsh boss Robert Howley has, in the meantime, named an unchanged starting fifteen to face Italy after he announced yesterday that the team that defeated France ‘deserved another shot’.

It means that Sam Warburton will once again be left out of the starting side, in the same week that Warren Gatland ha said that from a Lions perspective it will be important for the Welshman to play international rugby.

England have released all of the players that were on the bench against Ireland back to their clubs this weekend in an effort to ensure that every member of the squad gets enough gametime to keep them match sharp.

The England camp have been training at the FA’s head quarters, St Geroge’s Park, and have had Warren Gatland observing their debriefing of the Ireland game and watching a day of training, something he is doing with every Home Nations side throughout the Six Nations.

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