Wellington - Ireland hooker Rory Best is unlikely to play their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Wales on Saturday with Munster's Michael Sherry travelling to New Zealand to provide precautionary cover.
Best injured his shoulder in a tackle in the 36-6 victory over Italy in Dunedin on Sunday which ensured Ireland topped Pool C.
"The medical team has worked hard with Rory over the last 24 hours and he's reacted well to it and we're very pleased with the response. He's not totally ruled out," assistant coach Mark Tainton told reporters in Wellington.
"His chances at the moment, they're long. He's doubtful for this weekend but he's not ruled out of the competition."
Ireland manager Paul McNaughton said they expected Sherry to arrive in New Zealand on Thursday.
Sherry is the second hooker called into the Ireland squad since the tournament began with Shane Varley coming in after Jerry Flannery tore his left calf muscle at training before their match against Tri-Nations champions Australia.
Sean Cronin is likely to step into the starting role for their clash with the Welsh if Best is, as expected, ruled out of contention.
"I've been in this situation before," Cronin said.
"In the autumn internationals just gone by Rory picked up a bad injury against the All Blacks, so I had to come on early in that game and prepare for the following week against Argentina.
"Obviously it's a different level here at the World Cup but I've done it before."