IRELAND'S crisis at full-back has been confirmed with news that Geordan Murphy is unlikely to play again this season after breaking two bones in his foot.
The Leicester Tigers captain was stretchered off in last weekend's derby win over Northampton Saints in the English Premiership, and has now been ruled out of the Six Nations.
With Rob Kearney already a major doubt for the opening matches of the tournament due to a knee injury, Declan Kidney faces a backline reshuffle with his top two candidates for the No 15 shirt both suffering.
Murphy had his bone relocated on Wednesday and will undergo an operation this day week. He expressed his disappointment with the news and is now targeting a return before the end of the domestic season.
"Effectively, my chances of playing in the Six Nations this year are gone," he said.
"It's very frustrating really. It's the nature of the game, though, nothing can be done. You have to just get on with it, really.
"It's very annoying. I just have to try and get back as quickly as possible."