Healy suspension a blow to Ireland’s Six Nations chances
Ireland travel to Scotland next, with that the latest stop on a journey they hope will bring Six Nations glory.
If they are to justify 4/7 odds for victory at Murrayfield Stadium though, they will have to do so in the absence of prop Cian Healy, who has been hit with a five-week suspension.
Healy has been punished for a stamp on fellow prop Dan Cole, during Ireland’s 12-6 defeat to England, and as such will miss his country’s trip to Scotland, and Aviva Stadium clash with France.
The severity of the punishment is difficult to argue, especially considering that Healy’s actions prompted a 28-man brawl.
And the disciplinary committee’s judgement that the 25-year-old’s stamp on Cole’s ankle was mid-division in terms of seriousness leaves Ireland with mounting selection concerns.
Ulster loose head Tom Court is expected to deputise in place of Healy, with coach Declan Kidney expected to announce his restoration to the squad in the near future.
7/1 to win the Six Nations outright, the Irish are still struggling desperately within the pack though, with Healy’s ban compounding the unavailability of Mike McCarthy through injury.
Kidney is also sweating on the fitness of Donnacha Ryan and Sean O’Brien, whose respective back and hamstring problems could see them ruled out of Ireland’s Edinburgh trip.
Add to that concerns regarding Jonny Zebo, and the injury-necessitated omissions of Jonny Sexton and Brian O’Driscoll, and Scotland could tempt as 11/8 shots to beat Ireland.
In a game so crucial to Ireland’s Six Nations hopes, with Scotland currently sitting on the same points as Kidney’s men, the injury-depleted nature of their squad is far from ideal.
Whilst the impact of Healy, and other first-teamers’ absence from the Irish side remains to be seen, punters should approach them with caution at 4/7 to beat Scotland.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.