Munster fly-half Joey Carbery is to have surgery on a fractured elbow sustained in last Sunday’s Champions Cup win over Wasps.
The Ireland international was forced off late in the game and is now in a race against time to be fit for the Six Nations, which begins on the opening weekend of February.
He will have the surgery on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the 14 Munster players and staff who were quarantining in Cape Town have now returned home.
They were unable to return to Ireland with the rest of the travelling party on 1 December, having either tested positive for Covid-19 or been identified as a close contact.
The team had been in South Africa for two scheduled matches in the United Rugby Championship, which were then postponed following the detection of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the country.
Those that did return at the start of the month have completed their quarantine period again and are available for Munster’s home game against Castres on Saturday.
However the province will take the field without first choice fly-half Carbery, who re-established himself in the position and in the Ireland set-up this season after an ankle injury saw him sidelined for over a year.
The 26-year-old featured in all three of Ireland’s wins in November, coming off the bench against Japan and New Zealand before starting the final Test against Argentina.