Ireland's hopes of retaining the Six Nations title have taken another serious blow with confirmation from Les Kiss that Iain Henderson faces as much six months on the sidelines. The Ulster forward suffered a hamstring tear during the win over Edinburgh last week but there had been hopes that the Six Nations campaign was a realistic hope for his return to action.
That now seems very unlikely with Ulster coach Les Kiss confirming that Henderson's prospects for the rest of the season do not look good.
The type of injury historically has been up to six months. It doesn't look good in terms of the Six Nations.
With Henderson's Ulster teammate Tommy Bowe definitely out of the Six Nations and Peter O'Mahony's participation looking very unlikely, Ireland's horrendous run of injury luck shows no sign of slowing down. Henderson's emergence as a key part of Joe Schmidt's side has been one of the most encouraging aspects of the past twelve months and his absence will inevitably be felt quite severely.
The loss of Paul O'Connell was also going to be felt hard. If you're to take O'Mahony and Henderson out of the scrum as well, it starts to become very clear just how much things are beginning to stack up against Ireland with two months still to go before we take on Wales in the first game of the Championship.