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Best to sit out South Africa Test

Rory Best has been ruled out of Ireland's autumn Test opener against South Africa in Dublin on Saturday.

The Ulster hooker, who has won 77 caps, is sidelined due to a calf muscle strain.

Leinster forward Sean Cronin is now likely to start against the Springboks after 32-year-old Best became Ireland's latest front-row injury casualty following props Cian Healy, Martyn Moore and Nathan White.

Tighthead prop Mike Ross, meanwhile, is battling to be fit after a month out with groin trouble, although he returned to training on Tuesday.

"F ollowing a medical review yesterday evening, Rory has been ruled out of selection for the game against South Africa," the Irish Rugby Football Union said in a statement.

"His calf strain has been slower to heal than expected.

"He is partaking in modified training, but a decision has been made not to risk him this weekend, and his progress will continue to be monitored."

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is due to announce his starting line-up for the South Africa clash on Thursday.

After the Springboks, Ireland continue their autumn campaign against Georgia on November 16 before hosting Australia the following weekend.

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