Andy Farrell has been dealt a major blow ahead of the Championship opener against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday.
Number eight Caelan Doris has been suffering with “symptoms that could be associated with concussion” according to an IRFU update.
Doris was sent back to Leinster and his return date is unknown while lock Quinn Roux is also out due to a neck injury.
First-choice outhalf Jonathan Sexton is available after he recovered from a minor hamstring issue while Munster back row Gavin Coombes and Leinster lock Ryan Baird have been called into the squad and will train with Ireland this week.
Meanwhile Paul O’Connell admits he’s still learning about coaching but believes he can add to the Ireland international set-up.
The former Ireland captain was appointed forwards coach ahead of the 2021 Six Nations Championship.
O’Connell revealed today that he took some time to consider the role after an approach from head coach Andy Farrell in December.
He explained why he decided to take up the offer from Farrell.
“I feel like I can offer value, I have an awful lot to learn certainly as a coach, but I felt that I could immediately offer value to the coaching staff and the players” said O’Connell.
“I suppose my recent connection to playing, you could say it’s a weakness but I think it’s a bit of strength as well, you’re still clued in to what a player feels and how a player learns and how hard it can be to learn at times and to change a habit”.