Ireland’s fly-half star, Jonathan Sexton, could miss the autumn internationals, after suffering a broken jaw whilst playing in France, according to BBC Sport.
The 29-year-old Racing Metro man was injured against reigning European champions Toulon in the French Top 14 league at the weekend.
Sexton was tackled heavily by hooker Craig Burden, which means he may not be fit in time for home times against South Africa, Georgia and Australia.
The 45-time Irish international has been a vital player in the side’s set-up, having made his debut back in 2009 against Fiji.
The former Leinster man, who has also been capped three times by the British and Irish Lions, became the lead fly-half since the retirement of Ronan O’Gara and now is one of the most important stars in the team, after Brian O’Driscoll hung up his boots.
Unlike the England national team, Irish players are still permitted to play abroad and for their country, but Sexton remains the only current international at an overseas club.
The half-back moved to France last summer, joining Welsh duo Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate at Racing Metro.
His fellow countryman, O’Gara, was also hired by the Parisian club as a coach, after ending his playing career.
Despite the new stars, Racing failed to impress last year, finishing fifth in the league and failed to get out of their Pool 4 group in the Heineken Cup.
They have made a decent start to this season though, with two wins, including in the Toulon match at the weekend, and a defeat to their name, leaving them just a point of top spot.
If Sexton does fail to be fit in time for the internationals, which kick off on the 8th November at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, it will be the second year in a row coach Joe Schmidt has been left sweating over his prized performer.
In Ireland, all clubs have to abide by the IRFU’s player management scheme, which limits the amount of matches they play.
However, French side Racing Metro do not have this obligation, and Sexton ended up playing 13 times in 12 weeks, which led to a knee injury.
Although he only missed the first game against Samoa, it looks to be a recurring issue, and one that Schmidt will not want to continue.
Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson started against the Pacific nation, and looks likely to kick off against South Africa in two months’ time, after becoming Sexton’s understudy.
Jackson will have competition though, in the form of Leinster’s Ian Madigan, while Munster pair Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan have been impressing lately.