Ireland's Payne to miss start of Six Nations with kidney injury

Ireland and Ulster centre Jared Payne will miss the start of the 2017 Six Nations with a kidney injury that is expected to rule him out for three months.

Payne was replaced in the first half of Ireland's 27-24 victory over Australia at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday and will be out of action for 12 weeks.

The 31-year-old is likely to be unavailable to Joe Schmidt for the first three matches of the Six Nations campaign against Scotland, Italy and France.

If Payne's recovery goes to plan, he could possibly feature in the final two fixtures versus Wales and reigning champions England.

Andrew Trimble sustained a tendon issue in his foot during the same match and is expected to be out for two weeks.

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