Cape Town - Ireland suffered a setback ahead of their tour
to South Africa with the news that first-choice flyhalf Johnny Sexton has been
ruled out through injury.
According to the Irish Independent, Ireland head coach
Joe Schmidt is set to confirm the news at a press conference on Thursday, with
Sexton's Leinster team-mate Ian Madigan the favourite to replace him in the
Sexton is understood to have undergone surgery on the
shoulder injury he sustained in Saturday's PRO12 Final loss to Connacht at Murrayfield
and is set to be ruled out for around 12 weeks.
The 30-year-old appeared to suffer the injury during the
first half of his side's 20-10 defeat against Connacht. Sexton got up slowly
after a challenge from Tom McCartney in the 29th minute and received treatment
one minute later after tackling John Muldoon.
He played on however and finished the match, but is believed
to have had an operation on Tuesday. When Schmidt announced that Luke
Fitzgerald was ruled out of the with a knee injury on Monday he also admitted
that he had other concerns.
Madigan replaced an injured Sexton during Ireland's final
Rugby World Cup group match against France and also started in their
quarter-final defeat to Argentina.
He has been Ireland's back-up flyhalf since then, but missed
out on selection for the tour to South Africa after announcing his departure to
The Springboks will host Ireland in three Tests, with the
first match scheduled for Cape Town on June 11. It will be followed by Tests in
Johannesburg (June 18) and Port Elizabeth (June 25).