Ireland and Munster rocked by Zebo injury
Joe Schmidt will have to plan without Simon Zebo for the November internationals after confirmation the winger has cracked a bone in his foot.
A scan revealed the extent of the injury and the Lions player has been ruled out for a minimum of 10 weeks. Zebo will wear a specialised compression boot for the next four weeks as the crack heals.
The injury is a disaster for the player on a personal level after his rise to prominence over the last 18 months – his form for Munster and Ireland last season was rewarded by a late call-up to the victorious Lions squad in the summer.
Zebo was called out to Australia initially as cover for Tommy Bowe but stayed on as an official member of the touring party and played against the NSW Waratahs, the ACT Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels.
His form for Munster so far this season has not been as scintillating but his absence is a loss for the province and, indeed, for Ireland.
Johne Murphy is the obvious choice to replace him for Munster's Heineken Cup showdown against Gloucester on Saturday.
Zebo made his Test debut on the wing against New Zealand during Ireland's summer tour of 2012 before going on to play at full-back in two November internationals last year.
He enjoyed an electrifying start to his Six Nations career when he scored a fabulous try against Wales in Cardiff. His Championship was cut short when he broke a bone in his foot against England.
He recovered from that injury to finish the season strongly with Munster and started Ireland's tour game against the US Eagles before being called out to Australia.