A number of players who lined out in the RaboDirect PRO12 over the weekend have been added to a 33-man Ireland squad for next Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations encounter with England at Twickenham (kick-off 4pm).
The selected squad includes 15 players who got game-time in the latest round of the RaboDirect PRO 12, with uncapped back rower Jordi Murphy amongst them.
Munster’s Dave Kilcoyne and Donnacha Ryan return to the extended panel, while scrum half Eoin Reddan started for Leinster on Friday night after recovering from a calf injury.
Second row Ryan featured in Munster’s bonus point win at home to Zebre, in what was his first appearance for the province since undergoing exploratory knee surgery last month.
Out-half Jonathan Sexton was a second half replacement for Racing Metro 92 in their Top 14 match against Bayonne. He kicked two penalties in their 18-8 home victory.
Team manager Michael Kearney said today at a press conference that Isaac Boss is expected to be available for selection.
The scrum half is progressing well through the IRB return-to-play protocols, having suffered concussion and neck and shoulder injuries during Leinster’s match against the Dragons.
Ulster’s Darren Cave misses out on a squad place as he is nursing ‘lower abdominal soreness’, while Robin Copeland was omitted due to IRB regulation 9 which would have seen him return to his club Cardiff Blues (tomorrow) anyway had he not made the matchday squad.
Commenting on the fitness of Luke Fitzgerald and Tommy Bowe, Kearney said: “Both Luke and Tommy are recovering from a similar injury to the lower abdominal muscles.
“Both were extremely close to playing at the weekend but the provincial and national medical teams are taking a very cautious approach as, with the nature of these injuries, they could easily progress to something worse.
“The hope would be that they might get action (with their provinces) this weekend. They trained pretty fully last week and I think the expectation was that, right up to last Thursday, that Luke, in particular, would play (for Leinster).
“From what the medical team are saying, they both should be fit for next weekend. If they play then there is every possibility that they will be available (for selection) for the Italy and France games.”
The 33-man Ireland squad will train this week at Carton House. The team announcement press conference is scheduled for Thursday at 12.15pm.
IRELAND SQUAD (RBS 6 Nations v England):
Backs (15) –
Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
Forwards (18) –
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player