Belfast Telegraph

Sidelined Paddy Jackson set to learn his Six Nations fate

By Jonathan Bradley

Both Ulster and Ireland face an anxious wait for news on the severity of Paddy Jackson's dislocated elbow.

The fly-half suffered the injury during the Toulon reverse last weekend and, while he will miss Saturday's final European Champions Cup encounter with Leicester Tigers as well as Ireland's Six Nations opener with Italy on February 7, exactly how long he will spend on the sidelines is expected to be made clear some time today.

Jackson has had an unfortunate time with injuries of late after missing Ireland's tour to Argentina last summer thanks to a stress fracture in his back.

The 23-year-old has also missed time this year with concussive type symptoms and a sprained AC joint in his shoulder.

Ireland's starting number 10, Johnny Sexton, has not played since suffering a concussion in the Test against Australia in November and the Racing Metro man will not feature again until February 14 at the earliest, the day Ireland face France at the Aviva Stadium.

His absence meant that Jackson - who featured off the bench in four of Ireland's five games during last season's campaign - could have been in line to play some part in the championship opener at the Stadio Olimpico but it is now likely that Leinster's Ian Madigan will start and be backed up by Munster's Ian Keatley.

In addition to Jackson, Ulster are expecting Stuart Olding and Louis Ludik to be out for a number of weeks.

Both players picked up knocks at the Stade Mayol with Olding also injuring his elbow and Ludik breaking a rib.

While the likes of Ireland internationals Andrew Trimble and Dan Tuohy are still absent, it is expected that Iain Henderson and Wiehahn Herbst will be fit to feature this weekend while it was said last week that Nick Williams is also nearing a return.

Rory Best, Tommy Bowe and Craig Gilroy all missed the Toulon game thanks to the IRFU's Player Welfare Programme but are available to make their last appearance for the province before the Six Nations.

Belfast Telegraph


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