Kearney faces Six Nations KO
Ireland full-back doubtful for remainder of title defence
Last Updated: 18/02/10 7:51pm
Kearney: Injury blow
Full-back Rob Kearney looks set to miss the rest of Ireland's RBS Six Nations campaign through injury.
The Leinster man has been ruled out of action for between three to five weeks after suffering a knee injury in the first half of Saturday's 33-10 defeat to France in Paris.
The injury, which has been confirmed as a strain to the medial ligament in his right leg, means the 23-year-old will definitely miss the Twickenham Test against England on Saturday week.
There is an outside chance Kearney could return to face Wales on March 13, however the worst-case scenario would see him miss the remainder of the tournament, including the finale against Scotland at Croke Park.
"Rob Kearney is rehabbing and is out for England," said Ireland head coach Declan Kidney.
"We'd always give it 48 hours before confirming, but we expect him to be out for between three to five weeks."
But Kidney was able to give encouraging updates on forwards Stephen Ferris (knee), Leo Cullen (ankle), John Hayes (head) and skipper Brian O'Driscoll (knee).
"Stephen Ferris and Leo Cullen haven't taken part in training over the last couple of days but we expect them to be available," he said.
"John Hayes has had all his check-ups and has been given the all clear. Brian has been training."
Ireland have not yet decided whether to appeal after Jerry Flannery was suspended for six weeks for kicking France winger Alexis Palisson.
"We'll wait to see the judgement before taking advice on what to do," said Kidney.
"We don't want to see a guy out for any longer than he has to be. It wasn't a deliberate act, it was just awkward."