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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Centre Ringrose will miss out on the start of the Six Nations

Garry Ringrose is the latest player to be hit by syndesmosis. Photo: Sportsfile
Garry Ringrose is the latest player to be hit by syndesmosis. Photo: Sportsfile

Garry Ringrose will miss Leinster's final two rounds of the Champions Cup at home to Glasgow on Sunday and away to Montpellier the following week.

Worse again, it looks certain that Ringrose will be unavailable for the start of Ireland's Six Nations campaign. The 22-year-old's fears were realised from a scan on Sunday when it emerged he had suffered syndesmosis from an awkward twisting fall against Ulster.

This is an injury that has been prevalent in Leinster this season. Club captain Isa Nacewa, Josh van der Flier and Dan Leavy were all sidelined for six weeks with it.

There is a note of caution from left wing Daly's more lengthy recovery of nine weeks.

Syndesmosis is what would have been described as a high ankle sprain until recently.

More specifically, the two bones in the lower leg are the tibia and the fibula.

The point just above the ankle where these two bones meet is a joint called the syndesmosis. It differs from most other joints in that there is hardly any motion between the two bones. In truth, Ringrose has not hit the ground running after five months out from shoulder surgery.

The speed into contact in the tackle area has not been what it was towards the end of last season.

This is understandable as Ringrose was feeling his way back to full-match sharpness after the first serious setback of his career.

Joe Schmidt would have wanted Ringrose to prove he had rekindled the chemistry with Henshaw at Leinster before taking the next step.

Setback

This second setback for Ringrose opens the door for Bundee Aki to join Henshaw in Ireland's midfield in the Six Nations.

They would make for a stout, physical combination against France in Stade de France (February 3). The average recovery period of six weeks would also take Ringrose out of the meeting with Italy at the Aviva (February 10).

By then, Schmidt may well be slow to the tinker with the Aki-Henshaw axis.

For Leinster's game this weekend, it looks like Nacewa could be ushered into inside centre with Henshaw slipping one out to 13 at the RDS next Sunday (KO 1.0). The next option would be to go with Noel Reid, who came on for Ringrose on Saturday evening, in the midfield with Henshaw.

Then again, coach Leo Cullen could leave Henshaw in position and jettison Rory O'Loughlin into 13.

However, the plethora of in-form wings, like Fergus McFadden, Barry Daly and Jordan Larmour - he has often been used at full-back in his debut season - could be joined by Ireland international Adam Byrne, presuming he is fighting fit from a niggling knee injury, freeing Nacewa for the midfield.

Ulster star Tommy Bowe is set for eight weeks on the sidelines after suffering a sternum injury in the weekend defeat to Leinster.

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