Rugby Union

Johnny Sexton is ruled out of Ireland's clash with England on Saturday

Ireland suffer a blow ahead of Autumn Nations Cup clash with England as captain Johnny Sexton is ruled out with a hamstring injury after limping off during opening victory over Wales

  • Sexton limped off during the first half of Ireland’s 32-9 victory over Wales 
  • There are also doubts over his backup Billy Burns, who suffered a head injury 
  • Centre Robbie Henshaw is also ruled out of Saturday’s match against England

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup clash with England following a scan on a hamstring injury.

Fly-half Sexton, 35, limped off in the first half of Friday’s 32-9 win over Wales.

Centre Robbie Henshaw, who sustained an abductor issue against Wayne Pivac’s side, will also be unavailable at Twickenham.

Ireland captain and fly-half Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of their game against England

Sexton said in the aftermath of the Wales game that he was ‘hopeful’ of recovering in time to face Eddie Jones’ men, describing the issue as not feeling ‘too serious’ but ‘very frustrating’.

However, an IRFU statement has confirmed he will be absent, leaving head coach Andy Farrell with dilemmas surrounding the No 10 jersey and the captaincy.

‘Johnny Sexton has had a scan on the hamstring that forced his removal from the game on Friday night and has been ruled out of this week’s fixture against England,’ read a statement on the IRFU website.

Robbie Henshaw (right) will also miss the Twickenham clash with an abductor injury

‘Robbie Henshaw picked up an abductor strain and is also ruled out of this week’s game.’

The loss of the long-serving Sexton is compounded by doubts over understudy Billy Burns, who is undergoing return to play protocols as part of a head injury assessment; Leinster’s Ross Byrne is the only other stand-off in the squad.

Scrum-half Conor Murray finished Friday’s game in that position after the enforced substitutions of Sexton and debutant Burns, while lock James Ryan, 24, took over as skipper.

There were more positive updates on Iain Henderson and Jacob Stockdale following their late withdrawals ahead of the Wales game.

Lock Henderson has returned to training after absence, while full-back Stockdale will continue rehabilitation on his calf problem with a view to resuming training later in the week.

Uncapped centre Shane Daly has also returned to training following a knock.

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