Ireland wing Tommy Bowe will miss the RBS 6 Nations Championship, and possibly the summer tour to South Africa, due to a knee injury sustained in the World Cup quarter-final defeat against Argentina.
Bowe’s provincial team Ulster confirmed he will be sidelined for a minimum of six months.
“Tommy sustained posterior cruciate ligament and meniscal injuries to his right knee during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina,” Ulster Rugby said. “He had successful surgery to repair the damage yesterday, and he will be ruled out for at least six months.”
But because of the severity of the injury to the posterior cruciate ligament on top of cartilage damage, Ulster officials fear he could miss the entire domestic season.
Compounding Ulster’s post-World Cup injury woes is the news that burgeoning lock Iain Henderson will be out of at least six weeks following surgery yesterday to stabilise a joint in his hand which he injured during Ireland’s quarter-final defeat to Argentina. His international colleague Jared Payne has also undergone surgery to correct a broken bone in his foot but there is no date for his return.
Stand-in coach Neil Doak, who hands over the reins to Les Kiss on Monday, welcomed the return of Chris Henry for the difficult Pro12 trip to Munster who edged Ulster 21-20 last season at Thomond Park.
Paddy Jackson and Darren Cave will also be in the starting line-up, but hooker Rory Best has been given another week’s rest.
“Chris Henry will return, but Rory will be back for the Dragons game next week,” said Doak. “We have now three major injuries in Tommy, Iain and Jared. From out point of view it was a pretty attritional World Cup with those guys getting those knocks, and unfortunately for us they have been pretty major. They will be out for a while, but the season has kick-started now and we just have to plug the holes accordingly.
“It means opportunities for other guys, but if we pick up any more injuries it could really stretch us.” Doak is predicting a huge test in Limerick on Friday night. “It’s not the easiest place to go. Munster are going pretty well and we know it’s going to be a very physical confrontational game. With injuries on both sides and a likelihood of some changes in the Ireland camp, there will be a shop window for guys to be noticed and put a marker down. But there is always a little bit of added edge to inter-provincial games and it will be a difficult task. It is a big chance for us to put in a big performance, take our chances and be more clinical on Friday night.”
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