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Body blow

Huge blow as kidney problem rules Jared Payne out for 'at least' three months

Andrew Trimble will also miss the back-to-back clashes with Clermont with a foot tendon problem.

IRELAND AND ULSTER back Jared Payne could miss out on the entire Six Nations campaign after the IRFU said he faces ‘at least’ three months sidelined.

The 31-year-old was forced to come off midway through the final November Test against Australia on Saturday with what has now been diagnosed as an injury to his kidney.

Payne was the third back forced off injured in the half after Rob Kearney and Andrew Trimble were called ashore.

Andrew Trimble leaves the field injured with physio James Allen James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Trimble, who was replaced by Joey Carbery midway through the opening period of the win, limped from the field and will miss ‘a couple of weeks’ with a foot tendon injury according to the union. Ulster face Clermont twice in make or break Champions Cup fixtures in the coming weeks.

Rob Kearney lays prone after an injury James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Kearney left the field for a head injury assessment after just 11 minutes and did not return. However, the IRFU today say his withdrawal was a precaution and, post-match, Schmidt was keen to stress that the fullback had not been concussed.

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