Injured O’Connell misses out

Ireland line-out specialist Paul O’Connell could miss the Six Nations if he undergoes surgery to his injured back.

Well-respected by Test players and coaches alike, O’Connell is such an important member of the Irish line-out. Coach Eddie O’Sullivan has brought in Mick O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen to cover O’Connell, who will definitely miss the first two matches against Italy and France.

The first fixture takes place at Croke Park against the Azzuri on 2 February.

Ireland - Forwards: Neil Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster), Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), Simon Easterby (Llanelli), Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster), John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Clontarf/Leinster), Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), Bernard Jackman (Clontarf/Leinster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Johnny O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht), Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster), Malcolm O’Kelly (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), Alan Quinlan (Shannon/Munster), David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)

Backs: Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster), Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht), Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster), Shane Horgan (Boyne/Leinster), Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster), Geordan Murphy (Leicester), Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Eoin Reddan (Wasps), Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)