Keith Earls will miss most of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign after being ruled out for approximately six to eight weeks with a knee injury.
The utility back sustained medial ligament damage to his left knee during Munster's Heineken Cup victory against Edinburgh last weekend.
The time-frame for his recovery would give the 26-year-old an outside chance of facing Italy in Ireland's second last game on 8 March.
Ireland’s last game, against France on 15 March, is just over eight weeks away.
Earls, capped 39 times for Ireland, signed a new two-year contract with the IRFU on Tuesday, which will see him remain at Munster until at least June 2016.