Leinster star Josh van der Flier to miss Pro12 playoffs and Ireland's tour of South Africa
Leinster boss Leo Cullen has been dealt a massive blow ahead of their Guinness Pro12 semi-final against Ulster on Friday week after it was confirmed that Josh van der Flier would be sidelined for eight weeks.
The openside flanker will undergo surgery on an ankle injury he picked up in the heavy defeat to Ulster last month and will be out for up to two months.
The 23-year-old has been very impressive in his breakthrough season and was a virtual certainty to tour South Africa with Joe Schmidt's Ireland next month, having made his international debut against England in Twickenham in the Six Nations back in February.
There is better news for Rob Kearney and Johnny Sexton who should be fit to face Les Kiss' team.
A statement from Leinster read: "Josh van der Flier saw a specialist on Monday having injured his ankle against Ulster (syndesmosis) and following further review it was decided that Josh should have an operation to repair the damage.
"He had surgery yesterday and it was a success but he will be out for eight weeks and will miss next Friday's Guinness PRO12 semi-final against Ulster at the RDS Arena.
"Rob Kearney (ankle) and Johnny Sexton (quad) were both withdrawn against Benetton Treviso for precautionary reasons but are making good progress from both injuries."