Ireland's injury crisis worsens with O'Connell doubtful for Six Nations ahead of back surgery
14:53 GMT, 30 December 2012
Former Lions captain Paul O'Connell is a major doubt for Ireland's upcoming Six Nations campaign after his provincial side Munster announced that he would be undergoing surgery on a back injury that has blighted his season.
O'Connell has been dogged by injury in recent years and has only played two games for Munster this season with the back injury also forcing him to sit out Ireland's November internationals.
Green giant: O'Connell captained Ireland throughout last year's Six Nations
A statement from Munster revealed that the 33-year-old lock would undergo back surgery at the earliest opportunity but did not give a time frame for how long his recovery would take.
Ulster wing Tommy Bowe, the country's third highest try scorer of all time, was ruled out of the Six Nations earlier this month with a knee injury. Ireland open their campaign in Wales on February 2.