Garry Ringrose has suffered yet another Six Nations injury setback, a broken jaw against Italy on Saturday ruling him out of the 2020 finale next weekend for Ireland in Paris against France.

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It’s the second such setback for the midfielder this year as a thumb problem last February meant Ringrose only took part in the Ireland tournament opener against Scotland and sat out the games against Wales and England.

Now he has been in the wars again, leaving the Aviva Stadium fray on 27 minutes. His exit was initially said to be for a head injury assessment but he never returned as he was diagnosed with a broken jaw likely to sideline him for six weeks.

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“Unfortunately, Garry Ringrose has broken his jaw, so bad news for us all,” said Ireland coach Andy Farrell after the 50-17 win in Dublin.

“He has contributed so much to the last ten days. He has been fantastic in his leadership and he was a big part in the reason why we got what we wanted out of today.

“It was unfortunate. He had missed the Six Nations with his thumb injury and will miss the rest of the campaign now. We’re gutted for Garry.”

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Ireland were made to work for the win that took them top of the table, their bonus-point only secured when debut-making Will Connors went over on 61 minutes. They now lead the table by a point from England and France ahead of next Saturday’s fixtures which see the English go to Rome and the Irish head to Paris.

A bonus-point win would guarantee Ireland the title, but just a win over the French would see the title come down to points difference as England are expected to beat Italy well. Ireland currently have a points difference of +38 with England +15. France are in third with a points difference of +13.

“If we defend like we defended for most parts (against Italy) we will give ourselves a chance,” continued Farrell. “We talked about creating our own energy, our own atmosphere, that comes from your work ethic and your want to try and get the ball back. I thought that was fantastic. Our line speed was great… just a little disappointed at the end there to let them score that try.

“We would always want to be in with a chance in your last game to try and win a trophy. It’s a big old ask to go to Paris and win.

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“The French have got a fantastic squad. It’s always an unbelievable task to go and win but we have started our campaign again and take ourselves into next week with a chance. We have got a lot to fix up which you expect after week one but it builds excitement into next week for us as well.”

Speaking about the title chase, skipper Johnny Sexton added: “We haven’t discussed it. We’re still digesting this. We need to have a look at this game because some of the things that Italy did to us today France will do to us next week in terms of that line speed, particularly the intercept that I threw.

“We can’t do that next week, throw long passes against a rushed defence. It’s a huge challenge to go to France and win, never mind be talking about a bonus point. We need to just focus on our performance. We’re not going to get there [win] without a good performance so we just have to focus on that.”

Sexton also heaped praise on the two debut making starters in the Ireland XV, Will Connors and Hugo Keenan. “Those two guys led the energy.

“Will had the energy to get off the line, make tackles, but he also did some really good things with the ball as well. Hugo had a couple of tries and could have had another one… he did all things you expect of a class back three player.”

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