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Ireland lose another half-back as Gibson-Park is now also injured

By Liam Heagney

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Ireland boss Andy Farrell now needs a complete set of new starting half-backs this Sunday versus Argentina as Jamison Gibson-Park has joined Johnny Sexton in being ruled out of the Autumn Nations Series finale in Dublin. The Kiwi scrum-half had played like never before at Test level in recent weeks, his energetic performances one of the major reasons why the Irish followed up their series-opening win over Japan with a ruthless effort last Saturday when beating the All Blacks. 

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However, Ireland will now have to plan without the 29-year-old as an injury has sidelined him for the match against the Pumas and has resulted in the call-up of Luke McGrath, his provincial colleague at Leinster. 

An IRFU statement on Wednesday read: “Jamison Gibson-Park has been ruled out of the final game of the Autumn Nations Series against Argentina at the Aviva Stadium this coming Sunday.

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“Gibson-Park has a thigh injury and Luke McGrath has been called into the squad to provide additional scrum-half cover. James Ryan will take on the captain’s role in the absence of the injured Johnny Sexton.”

It was Monday when Ireland confirmed that out-half Sexton had twisted a knee and ankle against New Zealand and this would rule him out of action for between four to six weeks. He was to remain with the squad for the week with Connacht’s Jack Carty being added to Farrell’s options for the No10 position where Joey Carbery provided bench cover in recent weeks. Gavin Coombes also returned to the squad having missed last week through illness. 

 The New Zealand-born Gibson-Park qualified for Ireland under residency and he has played in a dozen Test matches since an October 2020 debut off the bench in the Six Nations versus Italy. He has since gone on to start on eight occasions and confined 2021 Lions captain Conor Murray to the bench in recent weeks.  

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The called-up McGrath used to be a regular backup for Murray during the Joe Schmidt era, the 28-year-old winning all 19 of his caps under the Kiwi. He was last capped off the bench in the 2019 World Cup quarter-final loss to the All Blacks in Tokyo. 

  

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