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Fears grow over Hugo Keenan’s fitness for Wales clash

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Hugo Keenan of Ireland evades the tackle of Gianmarco Lucchesi of Italy at the Aviva Stadium last weekend. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Hugo Keenan is set to miss Ireland’s Six Nations clash at home to Wales on Saturday week due to the knee injury that forced the full-back off during the second half of last weekend’s 36-0 win over Italy.

However, the Irish Independent understands initial scans did not reveal serious ligament damage, and as such, Keenan is hoping to be fit in time for Ireland’s trip to Twickenham on March 9.

The 27-year-old has been an ever-present since Farrell took over, starting 38 of the Ireland head coach’s 45 games in charge.

Keenan was forced off after 55 minutes at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday, with Farrell reporting that he was in good spirits in the dressing room afterwards.

The Leinster man has since undergone further examination, with his recovery time likely to rule him out of the Wales game at least.

Such is Keenan’s importance to Ireland, his absence would be sorely felt, and Farrell would be forced to dig deeper into his depth chart – something he has not had to do in the past on the back of Keenan’s remarkable consistency and durability.

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Ciarán Frawley is viewed as one of the main contenders to replace Keenan, if he is ruled out, and given that the versatile Skerries man has been released from the Ireland squad to play for Leinster this weekend, he could feature at full-back against Benetton at the RDS on Saturday afternoon.

Ireland are expected to provide an update on Keenan’s fitness at a press conference tomorrow.

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