18 Feb 2015

Irish star out of six nations

1:17 pm on 18 February 2015

Ireland No.8 Jamie Heaslip has three fractured vertebrae and will miss at least four weeks including the potential Grand Slam decider between Six Nations champions Ireland and England in a fortnight.

Jamie Heaslip in New Zealand, 2013.

Jamie Heaslip in New Zealand, 2013. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 31-year-old British and Irish Lions star suffered the injury after being kneed in the back by French lock Pascal Pape in Ireland's 18-11 victory over the France on Sunday.

The Irish Rugby Football Union says the injury causes a good deal of discomfort, but does not threaten the structural integrity of the spine.

Pape, who was yellow-carded for the offence, is to appear at a disciplinary hearing later this week.

Pascal Pape

Pascal Pape Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Stade Francais lock could be suspended for up to 52 weeks, although the usual punishment is an eight-week ban.

Pape's presence against Wales in France's next Six Nations match on February 28 is now very unlikely.