Injured winger Bowe a doubt for Six Nations and Lions Tour

Ireland winger Tommy Bowe faces an anxious wait to discover if he will be fit for the Six Nations and the Lions Tour to Australia.

Bowe was stretchered off during Ulster’s shock defeat by Northampton at Ravenhill on Saturday night after hyper-extending his right leg. He immediately called for attention and after a five-minute delay, a trolley stretcher was mobilised to take the winger from the field of play. Ulster Rugby issued a statement yesterday following a further diagnosis and stated that Bowe will undergo surgery later this week.

“An initial scan on Sunday morning revealed he has sustained significant lateral ligament damage to his right knee. He will undergo surgery later this week to repair the damage. At this stage it is not possible to put a timescale on how long his recovery period will be. A further update on this will be issued following the surgery.’’

Depending on the seriousness of the injury, which could also involve damage to other stabilising structures of the knee particularly the cruciate ligaments, Bowe could be sidelined for anything from three to six months.

That would definitely rule him out of the Six Nations and dent his hopes of making the Lions squad. He started all three Tests for the 2009 Lions in South Africa, playing at outside centre when they won in Johannesburg.

However Bowe was remaining upbeat last night tweeted the injury was “not as bad as I feared so hopefully be back soon.”

The 28-year-old has scored 26 tries in 51 Tests, and he is rated as one of the deadliest finishers of world rugby.

Earlier in the day, Bowe’s international colleague Richardt Strauss sustained a cruciate ligament injury in Leinster’s 28-21 defeat by Clermont Auvernge. Strauss twisted his knee in contact and will undergo a scan today to discover the extent of the problem. Isa Nacewa (arm) and Shane Jennings (shoulder) will also be assessed by medics following the bruising encounter against the French giants.

However, one positive for Leinster is that Irish international Luke Fitzgerald is set for a return to action following a lengthy lay-off due to a neck injury.


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