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Ireland captain Hawkshaw to miss U20 World Championship after surgery

Noel McNamara also delivered an update on scrum-half Craig Casey and Harry Byrne ahead of Friday’s Grand Slam decider in Wales.

IRELAND CAPTAIN DAVID Hawkshaw has been dealt a cruel injury blow with the news he will not only miss Friday’s Grand Slam decider against Wales but also the U20 World Championship this summer.

The Clontarf centre suffered a knee injury in training last week and after sitting out Ireland’s Six Nations championship-clinching win over France on Friday, was forced to have surgery to repair the damage.  

Jack Carty with David Hawkshaw Hawkshaw injured his knee in training. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

It means Hawkshaw is now facing a lengthy period on the sidelines and has been ruled out of contention to feature in June’s tournament in Argentina, where Noel McNamara’s side will face England, Australia and Italy.

Following excellent performances in the opening three rounds of this Six Nations campaign, it is an unfortunate setback for the 19-year-old, who has made exciting progress through the Leinster academy system.

It’s expected Sean French will continue in Ireland’s midfield alongside Liam Turner for this Friday’s round five encounter in Wales, after the Munster man deputised superbly for Henshaw in the number 12 jersey against France. 

There was a more positive update on the fitness of scrum-half Craig Casey ahead of this week’s trip to Colwyn Bay [KO 7.05pm, RTÉ 2], where McNamara’s charges will bid to become just the second Ireland U20s team to win a Grand Slam. 

Casey, the Shannon nine, injured his knee in the build-up to Ireland’s third try at Musgrave Park last weekend but after undergoing a scan on Monday, the hope is that he will be able to train with the squad later today.

The 19-year-old, who is in year two of the Munster academy, has been one of the standout performers for Ireland this championship and if he can prove his fitness ahead of Wednesday’s team announcement, it would be a major fillip heading to Wales. 

Similarly, Harry Byrne — who was a late withdrawal ahead of kick-off on Friday with a hip problem — must hit certain markers early in the week to come back into consideration for selection.

If the Leinster out-half fails to pull through, Ben Healy will again slot in having produced an assured performance in the pivot against Les Bleus, the Munster man scoring 16 points from the tee in the 31-29 success.  

Head coach McNamara reported no other injury concerns heading into the final round of the Six Nations, as his side look to emulate the 2007 team — which included Cian Healy, Ian Keatley, Sean O’Brien and Felix Jones — by recording a championship clean-sweep.

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Ryan Bailey

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