The Irish rugby team are almost certain to be without John Hayes and Jerry Flannery for the rest of the Six Nations, Munster team manager Shaun Payne confirmed yesterday.
With England due to visit the Aviva Stadium on March 19 in the final round of the series, it had been hoped that at least one of the pair might have recovered in time to make the crucial clash.
However, Hayes is expected be out of action for another three to four weeks with the groin injury, while it is unclear when Flannery will return.
The 36-times capped hooker has played just 46 minutes for his province this season due to ongoing calf problems.
“Jerry is receiving ongoing treatment with a number of specialists,” said Payne.
“He’s had more tests and is still awaiting a number of results. It’s all to do with his calf muscle and it’s very frustrating. He’s a good way short of being match fit.
“We wouldn’t rule him out (of the Six Nations) but it’s an injury which just seems to defy expectations, and so at this stage it would be a real push.
“We just want to get to the bottom of the injury, and to know how to treat it properly. It simply can’t happen that a calf tears that often. We have to determine the underlying cause.”