17/05/02. The big surprise when Eddie O’Sullivan named his 26 strong New Zealand squad was the omission of Munster’s Lion, David Wallace from the tour party.
Although by his own standards Wallace had a quiet Six Nations campaign, his form for Munster has been good but nevertheless he is left behind on this occasion with Keith Gleeson and Alan Quinlan making the cut. Quinlan probably booked his flight with that storming game for Munster against Castres in the semi final while Gleeson has impressed all year with Leinster.
Wallaces’ Munster colleague Frank Sheahan will also miss out, his place on the plane taken by Shane Byrne. Whatever about the merit of dropping the Munster pair, it certainly won’t do much for their confidence ahead of the Heineken Cup final
Another Lion from last summer, Tyrone Howe, is also excluded with Munster’s Anthony Horgan preferred.
The vacancies in the backs and the pack will be filled by Shane Horgan and Anthony Foley respectively should they prove their fitness. Foley has resumed training following a shoulder injury sustained in the European Cup semi final and Paul O’Connell, still struggling to be fit for the European Cup final is also included in the squad.
The squad fly out from Dublin Airport on Saturday June 1st and open their three match tour with a game against a New Zealand selection in Timaru on Saturday June 8th (5.05pm).
The Ireland 26 man squad is:
Backs: Justin Bishop (London Irish), Girvan Dempsey
(Leinster/Terenure College), Guy Easterby (Llanelli), Rob Henderson (Munster/Young Munster), Anthony Horgan (Munster/Cork Constitution), David Humphreys
(Ulster/Dungannon), John Kelly (Munster/Cork Constitution), Geordan Murphy (Leicester), Brian O’Driscoll Leinster/Blackrock College), Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Cork Constitution), Peter Stringer (Munster/Shannon), A. N.
Forwards: Shane Byrne Leinster/Blackrock College), Reggie Corrigan (Leinster/Lansdowne), Simon Easterby (Llanelli), Keith Gleeson (Leinster/St.
Mary’s College), John Hayes (Munster/Shannon), Marcus Horan
(Munster/Shannon), Gary Longwell (Ulster/Ballymena), Eric Miller (Leinster/Terenure College), Paul O’Connell Munster/Young Munster), Malcolm O’Kelly (Leinster/St. Mary’s College), Alan Quinlan (Munster/Shannon), Paul
Wallace (Leinster/Blackrock College), Keith Wood (Harlequins)
Captain; A. N. Other.