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Ferris Rated Doubtful For Summer Tour

Ferris Rated Doubtful For Summer Tour

Flanker Stephen Ferris has emerged as Ireland’s most serious injury worry ahead of their summer tour to New Zealand. He is nursing a calf injury and a decision on his availability will be made on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference at Carton House, the squad’s training base this week, Ireland team manager Michael Kearney said: “I think there is a possibility Stephen (Ferris) may miss the tour. He’s going over to Santry (this afternoon) for a specialist to have a look at it so we’ll probably know a little bit more then.

“At the moment, he’d have to be considered a fairly serious doubt. A decision will be made on Stephen on Monday.”

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Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin, who will start against the Ospreys in Sunday’s RaboDirect PRO12 final, is the player on stand-by should Ferris not make it.

Apart from the concern over the Ulster flanker’s calf strain, Kearney gave a positive outlook when revealing that the management team ‘are reasonably confident everyone else is going to make it.’

Pack leader Paul O’Connell (knee) performed well during his training stint on Friday. “He had the cast off on Wednesday and did a bit of running Wednesday, yesterday and today and we are reasonably optimistic. He’s progressing well,” explained Kearney.

Sean O’Brien is sidelined for the PRO12 decider after having a small procedure on his knee during the week. However, the Heineken Cup final man-of-the-match and his provincial colleague Cian Healy are expected to be fit for the three-match series against New Zealand.

The Irish manager added: “We’re hopeful that Sean will be fit to tour. He would have been with the Leinster medics all week, the procedure we were told was similar to the procedure that was carried out on Brian O’Driscoll (before the Heineken Cup final).

“So, there’s a little bit of a floater in his knee and that’s been removed. But again the information that we’ve received and in terms of the medics talking to each other, we’re reasonably hopeful or confident that he’ll be okay.

“Cian Healy has a dead leg in the thigh area and again he’s undergoing a fitness test tomorrow (for the Ospreys game) but we’re hopeful that he will be fit to tour.”

A number of Ireland’s fringe players will be hoping to impress when the team take on the Barbarians in Gloucester on Tuesday night (kick-off 7.45pm, updates on O2 MatchDay Live).

Included in that number are forwards Chris Henry and Brett Wilkinson, with Kearney confirming: “Chris and Brett, we’re hoping will be involved against the Barbarians on Tuesday and they’ll be assessed afterwards.”

A doubt remains over scrum half Isaac Boss’ fitness and if the quad muscle injury that ruled him out of Leinster’s Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12 finals also sidelines him for the New Zealand tour, then Ulster’s Paul Marshall and the London Irish-bound Tomas O’Leary are standing by to take his place.

“Paul (Marshall) is obviously in the squad for the Barbarians on Tuesday night, so I think you can assume Paul will be there, thereabouts.

“Tomas O’Leary will be considered as well. That hasn’t been fully decided yet but we’d be again hopeful that Isaac will pull through so we’ll have a good look at him (as we continue to monitor the injury).”

The team and replacements to face the Barbarians will be announced on Monday afternoon. After the warm-up fixture and a transfer from Cheltenham to London, the Irish tour party will fly out to Auckland via Singapore on Thursday – touching down on New Zealand soil on Friday night.

Related Links –

Three Uncapped Players In Ireland Squad For New Zealand

Seven Uncapped Players In Ireland Squad For Barbarians