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.
Rolling mauls laid the platform for three of the Ireland 'A' team's four tries during their Churchill Cup opener against the USA, and captain Shane Jennings admitted his satisfaction afterwards.
Jennings himself, hooker John Fogarty and replacement flanker Neil McMillan were all mauled over for tries in the 28-13 victory, with winger Andrew Maxwell adding a fourth - a chip and chase effort - in injury-time.
The outing would have pleased coach Michael Bradley - eight players - Simon Keogh, Maxwell, Eoghan Hickey, Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick, Damien Browne, John Muldoon and McMillan - made their debuts at 'A' level, both McMillan and Maxwell marked their first caps with tries and Jamie Heaslip excelled throughout the 80 minutes at number eight. The Leinster forward covered every blade of grass at the Buck Shaw stadium to bag himself the man of the match award.
Jennings was pleased the Irish had beaten a "very physical" Eagles side. He said: "They've obviously very good, they're a very physical side, they've got a couple of serious international players who've got a lot of caps and they're very experienced.
"We knew that we had an advantage in the maul and we were a bit more organised as we had played during the year whereas they hadn't played in a long time - so we had an objective to go for that maul and it went well."
US flanker Todd Clever, who plays his club rugby for Mahurangi RFC in New Zealand, told ARN: "We had a lot of new caps but I believe we did a lot of good. I think after a video session and after reviewing it thoroughly, we're going to have a lot to change and look forward to playing the New Zealand Maori on Wednesday night."
An official attendance of 3,700 attended Saturday's game - the first Churchill Cup fixture that the Buck Shaw stadium has hosted in the tournament's four-year history.