12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Speaking about the sudden departure of Maggs from the squad, manager Brian O'Brien expressed his disapointment. "I spoke to him (Maggs) yesterday morning and he was going to his doctor for an update yesterday evening. Unless there is a small miracle, he's out for the rest of the season. It's a shame, because he was on top of is game."
The loss of Maggs could undoubtedly be quite unsettling for the Irish team, but the 22 man squad for the Italian game will be announced on Thursday.
Whilst Eddie O'Sullivan is clearly keen to look at his midfield options judging by the call-ups for Deane and Bishop, there is a possibility that Shane Horgan will be asked revert to centre and renew his midfield partnership with Brian O'Driscoll, with Tyrone Howe or John Kelly the contenders for the wing position. There is also the possibility that the Irish selectors might try Kelly in the centre with O'Driscoll and leave Horgan on the wing.
All will become a little clearer at Thursday's squad announcement.