Stephen Ferris to miss Italy-Ireland clash in Rome
Ireland forward Stephen Ferris talks about the knee injury which is likely to rule him out of Ireland's opening Six Nations match against Italy
There was confirmation on Saturday that Stephen Ferris had joined Ireland's list of absentees for the Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome.
The Ulster player told BBC Sport on Friday that he was resigned to missing the match because of a knee injury.
"It is now looking as though I am going to miss the Italy game," said Ferris.
Already out for the injury-hit Irish are Tommy Bowe, Shane Horgan, John Hayes, Jamie Heaslip, Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney and Geordan Murphy.
Ferris, 25, added: "I basically aggravated an old injury in my left knee in last week's game against Aironi.
"It was during a pushover scrum near the end of the game and I felt my knee go and a pile of bodies then ended up on top of me.
"It is very disappointing but I am hoping to be back for the second game against France."
The injury to Ferris further reduces Declan Kidney's back-row options and Denis Leamy, David Wallace and Sean O'Brien now look the obvious choices for the Rome contest, with Shane Jennings also in contention.
Bowe is sidelined with a knee injury and is also a doubt for the clash with France a week later.
Hayes and Horgan are also expected to miss the encounter with France.
Leinster number eight Heaslip had his ankle injury reviewed by a specialist on Wednesday and it was confirmed that he will not be available for the Italy fixture, but could make a return against the French.
Heaslip's injury has kept him out of Leinster's Heineken Cup campaign since Christmas.
Horgan (knee) and Hayes (groin) were ruled out of the Italy game on Tuesday.
Leinster wing Horgan and Munster prop Hayes were both replaced at half-time in Heineken Cup matches last weekend.
Ulster wing Trimble misses out after breaking a bone in his right hand in the Heineken Cup win over Aironi.
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