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PRO 14    

Farrell hobbles off for Munster

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PRO 14    

Chris Farrell's tweaked knee is Ireland's latest midfield headache

Chris Farrell has given the injury-hit Ireland Six Nations midfield another scare, the Munster centre lasting just 17 minutes of his province’s facile 43-0 win over Southern Kings in Cork.

Farrell was the only starting player from the Irish team that beat Scotland at Murrayfield last week allowed to start for his club this weekend, but the gamble backfired as he lasted less than a quarter of the PRO14 match and was replaced by Dan Goggin.

Munster assistant Jerry Flannery tried to play down the extent Farrell’s latest injury concern, saying on live TV during the game: “I think Chris just tweaked his knee on a carry. He already had it strapped beforehand so it’s just precautionary.”

Munster coach Johann van Graan later added: “He got hit and it looks like the inside of his knee. Look, it was a bit of precaution but also a bit of pain, so we just took him off straightaway and the medical side will assess him. He is such an important player, not only for us but for Joe (Schmidt) and Ireland as well.”

Farrell was a late call-up to the Ireland team to face the Scots. Robbie Henshaw had been primed to renew a midfield combination with Bundee Aki that hadn’t been seen at Test level since last June’s tour to Australia.

However, the dead leg he was carrying failed to heal in time, opening the door for Farrell to make his first Ireland appearance since a start in last year’s Six Nations versus Wales.

Henshaw is said to be ready to resume training next week in time for Ireland’s February 24 Rome fixture against Italy.

But with Garry Ringrose, Aki’s partner in the opening round loss to England when Henshaw started at full-back, still a few weeks away from fully recovering from his hamstring problem, the potential sidelining of Farrell would give Schmidt a headache if Henshaw is also declared lame.

Elsewhere, fit-again Iain Henderson was fortunate to play the full 80 minutes in Ulster’s 8-0 win over Ospreys.

The Ireland lock, who was making a comeback from the January finger injury that ruled him out of his country’s opening two Six Nations matches, escaped a card when penalised for a first-half neck role.

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Chris Farrell's tweaked knee is Ireland's latest midfield headache