Murray Kinsella reports from Murrayfield

IRELAND’S DEVIN TONER will miss the remainder of the Six Nations after undergoing ankle surgery.

The Leinster lock, who could also be absent for his province’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster at the end of March, was ruled out of tomorrow’s clash with Scotland earlier this week.

Toner will miss the rest of the championship. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

The IRFU confirmed this afternoon that Toner has had surgery on the ankle injury he sustained in last weekend’s defeat to England and said he is likely to be out for around two months.

With Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne also currently injured, Quinn Roux and James Ryan start together in Ireland’s second row tomorrow.

“It’s massive,” said Ireland captain Rory Best of losing Toner. “He’s been a big part of what we’ve created here in the last while. He’s a great player.

“I would say over the last 18 months or two years he’s probably played some of the best rugby of his career.

“So, to lose a player like that and the intellectual property he brings around the lineout as well as the calmness he has it’s just great to have around the team environment. He’ll be a loss, as any great player is.

“But, when these things happen, it gives an opportunity to somebody else. Quinn Roux was great when he came on [against England], he showed a lot of physicality. He’s been playing very well for Connacht.

“This is a massive opportunity for him and for James Ryan to step up and lead in that second row.”

Meanwhile, Sean O’Brien – who will join London Irish next season – sat out today’s captain’s run in Murrayfield ahead of the Scotland game.

O’Brien didn’t take part in Ireland’s captain’s run. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The IRFU said the openside flanker, who has been named in the seven shirt, was having his workload managed as Joe Schmidt’s side went through a light run-out and expect O’Brien to be fully fit to start tomorrow afternoon [KO 2.15pm].

Rhys Ruddock is the non-match day 23 reserve providing cover for the back row in the event that O’Brien is not fit. Adam Byrne and John Ryan have also travelled with Ireland to Edinburgh.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan was an interesting part of the Ireland group, with the South African shadowing Schmidt and his coaching staff for the Six Nations weekend as part of his CPD [continuing personal development] through the IRFU.

Van Graan was also present at Ireland training in Carton House this week.  

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