Massive blow as O'Brien out for 6 months
Ireland will have to defend their Six Nations Championship without the destructive powers of Sean O'Brien.
The Tullow Tank (above) will be decommissioned for the best part of six months after shoulder reconstruction surgery due to be done in Manchester today.
"You never want to see world class players in the sideline. That is the reality of it. But the nature of the game is blokes get injured, hopefully not as often as Sean," said Leinster coach Matt O'Connor.
This means O'Brien will also be unable to put his shoulder to the wheel for Leinster in the newly rebranded Rugby Champions Cup, missing out on all six rounds of the Pool stage.
He missed out on last season's Six Nations due to his recovery from the initial shoulder injury and is unlikely to take part in Ireland's 2015 Six Nations campaign, as Joe Schmidt will want him back at 100% for the World Cup next Autumn.