Sunday 18 February 2018

Kiwi battle takes toll as trio ruled out of puma clash

ROB KEARNEY, Luke Fitzgerald and Rory Best have been ruled out of next weekend's Test against Argentina having picked up injuries in Saturday's 18-38 defeat by New Zealand, WRITES HUGH FARRELLY.

Captain Brian O'Driscoll (bruised shoulder), Gordon D'Arcy and Tommy Bowe (both calf strains) are also doubtful for this match, with updates expected tomorrow.

Kearney faces exploratory surgery this week after sustaining cartilage damage to his knee and more will be known about the length of his recovery after surgery.

Fitzgerald is expected to be on the sidelines for six weeks after suffering a medial ligament injury to the same knee he injured last year -- although it is in a different part of the knee.

Best fractured his cheekbone and had to leave the field after 20 minutes against New Zealand. The Ulster hooker is scheduled to undergo surgery today and is also expected to be out for six weeks.

The injury list increases the chances of a host of changes to Declan Kidney's side to face the Pumas with Geordan Murphy, Keith Earls, Fergus McFadden, Andrew Trimble all in the mix for a place in the starting line-up, while Connacht supporters will be hoping to see exciting winger Fionn Carr called up to the Ireland squad.

Irish Independent

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