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Kearney set for long lay-off

Rob Kearney's participation in Ireland's RBS 6 Nations campaign is under threat because of his knee problem.

Leinster announced on Tuesday that the Lions full-back will be out for several months having undergone surgery on the injury sustained in the 38-18 defeat by New Zealand.

Even with a rapid recovery, Kearney is unlikely to be ready for the Six Nations opener against Italy on February 5.

"After his surgery last week, Rob Kearney seems set to sit out the next few months on the sidelines," read a statement from Leinster.

The news comes as a significant blow to Ireland and Leinster, who are already missing winger Luke Fitzgerald for next month's Heineken Cup ties against Clermont because of a knee problem.

The province will be hoping for better news on Brian O'Driscoll, who will discover on Thursday the severity of his suspected broken jaw.

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