Ireland’s World Cup hopefuls suffered another defeat and the loss of flanker David Wallace on a bad day all round as they went down to England at the Aviva Stadium.
The 20-9 defeat was marred by a 22nd minute incident that saw Wallace pick up a serious knee injury that will require surgery after he was shunted into touch by Manu Tuilagi.
The 35-year-old Munster star has now withdrawn from the 30 strong squad for the World Cup pool games against America, Australia, Russia and Italy.
His place on Tuesday’s flight goes to Leinster’s Shane Jennings after a costly day at the office for Irish coach Declan Kidney as his team lost a fourth consecutive World Cup warm-up match.
“David took a very bad bang on the knee and while we don’t know the exact prognosis, he has unfortunately been ruled out of the World Cup,” said Ireland coach Declan Kidney.
“This is heartbreaking for Ireland and for the player. David took the news like the man he is. There’s a word I’m not supposed to say in public, but it happens.
“You have to deal with these things. He’s 35 and I’ve never seen a man as physically fit as he is right now. Never.
“It’s heartbreaking for him and his family. It’s extremely disappointing for us and will be good news for someone else. That’s the cut-throat nature of sport.”
Cian Healy (eye), Jerry Flannery (shin), Stephen Ferris (hand) and Jamie Heaslip (concussion) all picked up injuries in the England defeat but all four will travel on Tuesday.
Victory on Saturday was sweet for England, five months after their Grand Slam hopes were destroyed by Ireland on the same ground.
Tries either side of the break from Manu Tuilagi and Delon Armitage and 10 points from the boot of an evergreen Jonny Wilkinson ensured an away win on a day when Ronan O’Gara kicked all nine Irish points in the first-half.
Ireland now go to the World Cup on the back of defeats to France (twice), Scotland and now England this summer.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves against England and France to know exactly where we are, and we know now,” admitted Kidney.
“If you go to the World Cup you want to compete at the highest level.
“We’ve lost four in the series, which is extremely disappointing. That’s not what we aimed for.
“No excuses to camouflage results, we’re here to get results. We’ll keep working and will get better.
“The positive is that all of the lads have had around two games and they needed those two games.”