Alan Quinlan says Jordan Larmour's upcoming injury absence is a huge blow for Andy Farrell and Ireland heading into the Six Nations resumption.
The 23-year-old dislocated a shoulder in Leinster's win over Benetton on Saturday, and is now set to miss the remaining delayed Six Nations matches, with Italy up next on October 24th.
Former Munster and Ireland international Quinlan told OTB AM that Larmour has "matured" greatly in recent years, which makes his absence all the more difficult to take.
"It's a tough injury to get, lots of rugby players get them. I feel sorry for him because he's someone who would have been vitally important in the next period of time for Andy Farrell and the Irish team.
"It's a disappointing one and very frustrating for him personally, and he'll be a big loss to Ireland.
"He's matured a lot, he flew onto the scene a couple of years ago and his ability to play is just phenomenal - his footwork, his pace, his general skill. The question marks I suppose were, and it happens for any full-back, is how you cope under the high ball. That's where most of the scrutiny comes from.
"In recent weeks he's been put on the wing and Hugo Keenan has played at full-back, and Stockdale is playing full-back for Ulster. Those are some interesting things happening.
"Jordan Larmour is a fantastic player with natural ability and ability to find a gap... He's someone who has matured a lot, he's still very, very young and has played so much rugby in the last couple of years.
"[He's] such a natural talent, it's tough for him. Dealing with these injuries is part and parcel of the game, sometimes these players don't ever get those kinds of serious ones but unfortunately it's part and parcel of it.
'Overall we're pleased - plenty of bits of the performance for us to improve upon.' 💪
Leo Cullen speaks about tonight's bonus-point win in Treviso and provides an update on Jordan Larmour. 👇#BENvLEI#GuinnessPRO14 pic.twitter.com/ACPNiBkdrk
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) October 10, 2020
"I had plenty of them myself... He's going to be out for a while and it's a big blow."
Reports are suggesting Larmour is facing 10 weeks on the sidelines, but Quinlan says he would be surprised if he returned within that timeframe.
"He's someone that would definitely come into contention for the Lions. The Lions always depends on how the Six Nations goes the previous [time], but it might be a blessing in disguise.
"He'll get a bit of a break now, he has a lot of rugby played. You can't rush these things, the modern surgery and science around the injuries and the recovery are way quicker nowadays.
"You're looking at four to six months for a dislocated shoulder if you get the surgery. I'm not sure where the 10 weeks came out of, because if he has to get surgery it's going to be much longer than 10 weeks.
"If it's not surgery...Sometimes the shoulder pops out and goes back in and it heals with rehab, but usually to strengthen it up, in an ideal world you don't want players who have a shoulder dislocation getting it put back in and strapping it in and hoping that it'll heal, unless that's the doctor's advice.
"But it's probably more likely that there'll be surgery needed and that's a four- to six-month job."