Stander to miss two Six Nations games while Ireland sweat over three players' fitness ahead of Scotland trip
Ireland are sweating over the fitness of Devin Toner, Keith Earls and Garry Ringrose ahead of their trip to Murrayfield this weekend.
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Joe Schmidt's men are looking to bounce back from last weekend's 32-20 defeat to England when they face Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday (kick-off 2.15pm).
However, they will do so without CJ Stander, who face up to four weeks out after suffering a fractured cheekbone and eye socket at the Aviva Stadium.
That will keep the number eight out for both this weekend's game and the trip to Italy on February 24 while he will be keen to return for the final two fixtures against France and Wales.
Ireland could also be without lock Toner, winger Earls and outside centre Ringrose when they travel to Edinburgh. Toner aggravated an ankle issue, Earls suffered a hip-pointer injury and Ringrose has a tight hamstring. All three will assessed by Ireland's medical team ahead of this weekend's game.
Schmidt will be anxious about Toner's fitness with Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne both already out through injury. The more inexperienced Quinn Roux could instead come in to start as he looks to win his 10th cap.
Also of concern will be Earls' issue with Andrew Conway having returned to Munster for rehab on a calf problem. That would leave Jordan Larmour and Jacob Stockdale as the only available wingers in the squad. Earls could yet play through the pain barrier after being managed at Ireland training in the early part of the week.
Ringrose's omission would be filled by Robbie Henshaw reverting to his usual position after a failed experiment at full-back with Rob Kearney expected to return to the number 15 jersey.
Belfast Telegraph Digital