England vs Ireland team news: Johnny Sexton ruled out as Irish suffer double injury blow for Autumn Nations Cup clash
Ireland will be without captain Johnny Sexton and centre Robbie Henshaw for their pivotal Autumn Nations Cup trip to Twickenham as Andy Farrell’s side were hit with a double-injury setback ahead of Saturday’s match with England.
Sexton will miss this weekend’s fixture at the very least after suffering a hamstring strain during Friday’s 32-9 victory over Wales, having tweaked the muscle following a successful penalty attempt in the first half.
Sexton eased fears after the match by stressing the injury was not “too serious”, but it will be enough to rule him out of this Saturday’s encounter as Ireland attempt to gain revenge for their Six Nations defeat earlier in the year against England.
Sexton’s absence is compounded by the head injury suffered by replacement fly-half Billy Burns, who is going through the return-to-play protocols this week and has not yet been ruled out of the trip to London.
Farrell will also be without Henshaw, who suffered an abductor strain in the same match with the centre joining Leinster teammate Gary Ringrose on the sideline.
“Johnny Sexton has had a scan on the hamstring that forced his removal from the game on Friday night and has been ruled out of this week’s fixture against England,” read a statement on the IRFU website.
“Robbie Henshaw picked up an abductor strain and is also ruled out of this week’s game.”
Scrum-half Conor Murray finished the match at fly-half and could be an option for Farrell to fill the No 10 shirt should Burns fail to recover in time to feature, while the other option in Farrell’s suad would be Leinster out-half Ross Byrne, with Munster’s Joey Carbery a long-term injury absentee.
There was better news for Farrell regarding the two other injury concerns on his hands, having been forced to withdraw lock Iain Henderson and full-back Jacob Stockdale due to an unspecified medical issue and calf trouble respectively. Ulster second row Henderson has already returned to training on Monday, while Stockdale is expected to step up his rehabilitation later in the week and is expected to be available for selection at the weekend, with uncapped centre Shane Daly also back in training after recovering from a knock.
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