McFadden's World Cup hopes hit by headbutt ban
Fergus McFadden's World Cup hopes have suffered what could be a terminal blow after he has been hit with a six-week headbutting ban which will rule him out of all Leinster and Ireland games until late August.
McFadden, who also misses the rest of Leinster's bid to retain their PRO14 and Champions Cup titles, will be free to play from August 26 but the Irish will have played half of their warm-up games by then.
McFadden was reported by the citing commissioner in charge of last Saturday's defeat to Ulster following a first-half clash with Seán Reidy and the disciplinary panel concluded that the player had committed an act of foul play involving contact to the head.
Referee George Clancy only awarded a penalty at the time despite reviewing the clash extensively via his TMO but the disciplinary committee deemed that the offence merited a red card.
And they decreed the contact was intentional with a mid-range entry point of 10 weeks' suspension laid down.
A few weeks ago, McFadden, who featured in the last World Cup but won the last of his 34 caps in the 2018 Six Nations against Wales, outlined his hopes for Japan.
"The way I look at it is if I'm in the Leinster team for the big matches, I can't be too far away from being involved in the Irish team."
Meanwhile, Ronan O'Gara, currently assisting Super Rugby champions Crusaders, has been linked with a return to the Top 14 with La Rochelle reportedly lining up a swoop.
His former club Racing 92 are also believed to be interested in securing his services.