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Premiership Rugby

Exiles devastated by Sheasby loss

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Sheasby has been sidelined with a serious eye injury, which he picked up during the Exiles' win over Sale Sharks last week and is likely to be out for at least three months.

Exiles coach Gary Gold was distraught over the loss of the No.8 as he looked ahead to the weekend's match.

"Our visit to Sale Sharks was as demanding as expected. While we were pleased to come away with the win, we were devastated by the injury to Chris [Sheasby]," said Gold.

"Saracens pose another tough challenge on Sunday. They are a team brimful of talented players who have only hit form on occasion thus far. When they do so consistently their opponents will suffer, I hope we are not the ones to feel the effects on Sunday."

Sheasby is now facing a minimum three-month lay-off and possible permanent eye damage following an incident during last Friday's Zurich Premiership game against Sale.

The former England international was seriously injured in an incident at a scrum in the final seconds of the first half of the match and was promptly rushed to a Manchester hospital for examination and treatment.

X-rays revealed a fracture to his right eye socket. The former England international underwent surgery to repair a rupture of his eye, a process which included removal of part of the iris.

Medical experts are waiting for the bruising around Sheasby's eye to clear up before giving a verdict on whether his vision will be permanently affected, although at present it is significantly impaired.

Even if he makes a full recovery, the 36-year-old eight-cap veteran – who has also enjoyed spells with Wasps and Harlequins – is facing at least 12 weeks on the sidelines.

His loss will be a massive blow to Irish – Sheasby's form has been one of the reasons behind the club's climb to fourth in the Premiership table.

London Irish: 15 Michael Horak, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Geoff Appleford, 12 Rob Hoadley, 11 Justin Bishop, 10 Barry Everitt, 9 Darren Edwards, 8 Phil Murphy, 7 Kieron Dawson, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Bob Casey, 4 Ryan Strudwick (captain), 3 Rob Hardwick, 2 Naka Drotské, 1 Neal Hatley.Replacements: 16 Doug Wheatley, 17 Adrian Flavin, 18 Kieran Roche, 19 Paul Gustard, 20 Nils Mordt, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ross Laidlaw.

Kick-off: 15.00

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