Ireland forward Tadhg Beirne is a major injury concern for the Six Nations after Munster confirmed he will require surgery on a broken ankle.
The 27-year-old sustained the fracture in Munster’s 15-6 defeat by Saracens on Saturday in the Champions Cup.
Beirne twisted an ankle and was taken off on a stretcher after 10 minutes.
Munster gave no indication of the length of Beirne’s lay-off but he faces a battle to be fit for the Six Nations opener against Scotland on 1 February.
The versatile Beirne, who joined Munster from Scarlets in 2017, made his Ireland debut against Australia last year and has won 13 caps.
Two other Munster and Ireland forwards picked up injuries at Allianz Park.
Munster skipper Peter O’Mahoney sustained a “low grade abductor injury” during the warm-up while prop John Ryan suffered a calf strain.
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Winger Andrew Conway will follow return-to-play protocols after coming off for a head injury assessment in the second half.
There was some good news for the Irish side on the injury front with props Dave Kilcoyne (calf) and Jeremy Loughman (ankle) set to return to training this week.
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