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Iain Henderson hands Ireland a blow

IAIN HENDERSON has suffered a finger injury that will limit Ireland’s resources at lock for the beginning of their Six Nations defence.

Ulster lock Henderson’s new blow comes on the same day Munster second-row Tadhg Beirne was ruled out of Ireland’s opening two Six Nations encounters, against England and Scotland, because of a knee problem.

Henderson had only just returned from a five-week lay-off due to a thumb problem for Saturday’s 14-13 Champions Cup win at Leicester, and picked up a fresh injury in that Welford Road victory.

‘Iain Henderson suffered a finger injury that is likely to keep him sidelined for several weeks,’ Ulster confirmed in a statement. ‘This fresh injury is unrelated to his recently injured thumb.’

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has called up Connacht’s Quinn Roux as cover for Beirne. Ireland begin their campaign against England in Dublin on February 2.

They said it…

‘He is not a million miles away, and hopefully we will see him out in green over the course of the next few weeks’ — Johnny Sexton’s Leinster boss Leo Cullen says the fly-half and world rugby player of the year (pictured) is nearing full fitness after a knee injury