Connacht centre Dave McSharry has been stood down for the rest of the season due to concussion.

The 26-year-old former Leinster academy player was checked out by a specialist having “sustained a number of concussions in the past 12 months,” the province said in a statement.

They added: “He has been advised to undertake a period of rest from the game for the remainder of the current season.

“Dave, who has a contract with Connacht for next season, will continue to train in a non-contact capacity with the squad.”

The move comes in the midst of a debate on the issue of concussion in rugby, with Ireland second row Mike McCarthy also out of action until next season after a clash of heads in the Six Nations loss to France.

Elsewhere, the Pro12 leaders will also be without back row Eoghan Masterson, 22, for the remainder of the season with a knee ligament injury.

Versatile back Rory Parata will miss the next two games at least, also with a knee injury.