DUBLIN – Ireland No 8 CJ Stander could miss at least two Six Nations matches after suffering facial injuries against England last weekend.
An Irish Rugby Football Union statement issued on Monday said the loose forward could be sidelined “for up to four weeks” after suffering the injury during a 32-20 home loss to England on Saturday that ended Ireland’s hopes of successive Grand Slams in the opening round.
Meanwhile, Ireland wing Keith Earls, centre Garry Ringrose and lock Devin Toner are all fitness doubts for this coming Saturday’s match away to Scotland.
“CJ Stander has a facial injury that could rule him out for up to four weeks,” said the IRFU statement.
“Keith Earls suffered a hip pointer injury, and will be managed across the early part of the week.
“Devin Toner aggravated an ankle injury and Garry Ringrose reported some hamstring tightness. Both will be further assessed by the medical team over the next 24 hours.”
South Africa-born Stander has become an Ireland regular under coach Joe Schmidt since winning the first of his 29 caps two years ago.
Stander’s brother-in-law, Ryk Neethling, tweeted after Saturday’s match that he was “proud of CJ Stander playing 62mins with two fractures in his cheek and eye socket”.
— Ryk Neethling (@RykNeethling) February 2, 2019
Ireland team management, however, have yet to confirm the full extent of Stander’s injuries.
If he is ruled out for four weeks, that would see him missing Six Nations matches against both Scotland and Italy this month.
But it might mean Stander would be available for Ireland’s match against France in Dublin on March 10, as well as their Championship finale away to Wales in Cardiff the following weekend.
Both Ireland and Scotland, who started the 2019 Six Nations with a 33-20 win over Italy, are due to name their teams for the Murrayfield fixture on Thursday.