Ireland captain Niamh Briggs has been ruled out for the rest of the Women’s Six Nations because of a hamstring injury.
The absence of the influential full-back, who has been capped 57 times, is a major setback to Irish hopes of winning the tournament.
Briggs missed the wins over Scotland and Italy, which took the Irish to the top of the standings.
Ireland finish with games against France, Wales and England.
“A scan on the 57-times capped full-back has confirmed a hamstring injury, ruling Niamh out for the remainder of the Women’s 6 Nations Championship,” the IRFU said.
“She will work with the IRFU medical staff to rehab the injury over the coming weeks.”