The Ulster star suffered a kidney injury last weekend
Jared Payne is in danger of missing Ireland' Six Nations campaign.
The news will come as a major blow to the Irish backroom team, as the Ulster centre looks set to miss three months with a kidney injury.
Payne was injured in Ireland's win over Australia last weekend. He only lasted until half-time and was replaced by scrum-half Kieran Marmion, as Ireland's backline was decimated in the first half.
The three-month prognosis means that the 31-year-old looks set to miss at least Ireland's first three games. The team begin their campaign with away games against Scotland and Italy, before France come to Dublin in the last weekend in February.
Joe Schmidt will hope the New Zealand-born centre will return in time for the away match against Wales on March 10th, ahead of the final match, against England on March 18th.
In the IRFU's final squad update of the Autumn Series, they confirmed that Payne's provincial teammate Andrew Trimble will miss "a couple of weeks" with tendon issues in his foot, while Rob Kearney's withdrawal after 11 minutes in the Australia win was a precaution.