Quinn Roux has been ruled out of contention for Andy Farrell's first Six Nations as Ireland head coach through injury.
The Connacht lock suffered a hand injury in the festive interprovincial clash with Munster, his 100th for the province.
Connacht coach Andy Friend confirmed that the former Leinster second-row will require surgery on the injury, ruling him out of the upcoming Six Nations Championship. The South-African born lock will not return to training until February.
Roux was left out of the Rugby World Cup squad in Japan but did feature in the 2019 Six Nations. The 29-year-old was one of five Connacht players included in Farrell's first mid-season stocktake in December.
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There is some positive news for Connacht, with lock Gavin Thornbury returning just as Roux was ruled out.
Thornbury's return from injury brought about Andy Friend's philosophical side when speaking to The Irish Times:
“That’s a revolving door, it just keeps going. We lose one in Quinn but we gain one in Gavin. But credit to Gavin on his return to play quicker than we expected,” said Friend.
“We had that with Tiernan O’Halloran and with Paddy McAllister too. Credit to those men and to our medical staff. They’re under such pressure and our athletic performance staff to churn these blokes back out.”
The injury will be a blow for Connacht who have an unenviable run of games over the next month. The western province travel to the RDS this weekend to face a Leinster side looking for a fourteenth straight win in all competitions this season.
Two crucial Heineken European Champions Cup games against Montpellier and Toulouse follow the trip to Dublin, both must-win games for Connacht if they are to keep their European adventure going.
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