Ireland locks Henderson, Beirne to miss start of 6 Nations

DUBLIN (AP) — Locks Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne will miss the start of Ireland’s defense of the Six Nations rugby title.

Henderson returned on Saturday from a five-week layoff because of a thumb injury only to hurt a finger playing for Ulster in the European Champions Cup.

Ulster said the British and Irish Lions star will be sidelined for several weeks, but didn’t say which finger was injured or its nature in a statement on Monday. It was unrelated to his recent thumb problem.

Beirne injured a knee, also on Saturday, playing for Munster in the European Champions Cup.

Ireland said on Monday he will miss the first two Six Nations games against England and Scotland.

Quinn Roux was called in as cover, to compete for a start at lock with James Ryan, Devon Toner, and Ultan Dillane.

Ireland opens against England next week in Dublin.