Friday, December 25, 2009

Jerry Flannery likely to be available for Six Nations

Munster hooker Jerry Flannery's prospects of being available for all of Ireland's Six Nations campaign appear to have improved.

Exploratory surgery on Flannery's Achilles injury has indicated that he is likely to be fit by late January.

Ireland currently have reduced hooker options with Ulster's Rory Best ruled out for the entire season.

Declan Kidney's side open the defence of their Six Nations title against Italy at Croke Park on 6 February.

A week later, the Grand Slam champions face France in Paris.

If Flannery is ruled out, Connacht's Sean Cronin, 23, who earned his first cap in November, would be the next most likely choice.

The uncapped Fogarty brothers John, 32, and Denis, 26, appear to be next in line behind Cronin.

John Fogarty has been keeping Bernard Jackman out of the Leinster team for most of this season, while Denis has been getting regular action for Munster because of Flannery's international commitments and injuries.

Flannery was a late withdrawal from the Munster team for last weekend's Heineken Cup win over Perpignan and misses this weekend's return clash in France.

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