Six Nations 2018: Ireland flanker van der Flier to miss rest of season

Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier receiving treatment at the Stade de France on Saturday
Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier receiving treatment at the Stade de France on Saturday

Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with the knee ligament injury he sustained against France.

The Leinster back row, 24, came off late in the first half of Ireland's last-gasp 15-13 victory in Paris.

Dan Leavy, who impressed as Van der Flier's replacement, is likely to start against Italy in Dublin on Saturday.

Van der Flier's provincial team-mates Sean O'Brien and Rhys Ruddock are also on coach Joe Schmidt's injured list.

Ireland are hoping British and Irish Lions flanker O'Brien will recover from a hip injury in time to feature at some point during the Six Nations.

Van der Flier's injury also represents a significant blow to Leinster, who will miss the rest of their Champions Cup and Pro14 campaigns.

Ruddock tore a hamstring during Leinster's European pool win over Exeter Chiefs in December.

Elsewhere, fit-again prop Dave Kilcoyne has rejoined the Ireland squad, while Munster forward Jack O'Donoghue and Leinster winger Barry Daly have been invited to train with the squad during the early part of this week.

Wing Andrew Conway will continue his rehabilitation from a knee complaint at Munster this week, with team-mate James Cronin released to get some game time in the Pro14 game with Zebre in Limerick on Saturday.

Ireland will host Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, in former full-back Conor O'Shea's first match in Dublin as Azzurri head coach.

Schmidt's men have three home games - against the Italians, Wales and Scotland - before the keenly anticipated match on 17 March against England at Twickenham which could decide the winners of the tournament.

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