Ireland hero Rory Best's Rugby World Cup could be over after the Ulster hooker suffered what appeared to be a serious collar-bone injury during yesterday's 36-6 win over Italy to set up a quarter-final clash with Wales in Wellington on Saturday.
Best went for a scan after the match with an update due today but if the Co Armagh man has broken his collar bone, the recovery period could take up to three months.
It would be a devastating blow for the 29-year-old who has been in superb form and a serious one for the Ireland squad who have already lost Jerry Flannery to injury.
Judging by Best's distraught demeanour leaving the field, the news today is unlikely to be good and it will be a blow for Ulster, too if Best is now to miss half their season.
Also marring the contest was Leonardo Ghiraldini's attempted eye-gouge on Cian Healy, an incident that was missed by referee Jonathan Kaplan but will surely lead to sanctions against Italy.
Victorious Ireland coach Declan Kidney is now relishing the prospect of another knockout match against the Welsh.
“It will be like a Six Nations game because the players know each other so well, space will be cut down,” he said. “It will be like a cup final. That's what this competition is all about and thankfully we've qualified for another one.”