Ireland have been hit with injury blows over two of their most experienced backs.


Conor Murray was already ruled out until December and wasn’t selected in Joe Schmidt’s 42-man squad for the November Internationals, now Leinster have given an update on Rob Kearney and Fergus McFadden.

McFadden was never likely to feature in November after picking up a high grade hamstring injury in training two weeks ago and was omitted from the original 42-man Ireland squad. Leinster have confirmed he’s had an operation and has subsequently been ruled out for four months, meaning he’s in a race to be fit in time for the start of the 6 Nations. McFadden has been a Joe Schmidt favourite due to his dependability and consistency.

Kearney, meanwhile, was taken off in the second half of Leinster’s win over Treviso at the weekend after getting heavy knock to his shoulder.

Leinster have said the veteran full back “will be further assessed by the IRFU medics this week.”

Kearney was already left out of the 26-man squad for Saturday’s test with Italy at Soldier Field in Chicago.

His absence will give his Leinster teammate Jordan Larmour or Munster’s Andrew Conway a chance to stake their claim on the 15 jersey. Conway was an impressive performer for Ireland in the position last November.


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Ireland decided to rest several front-line players for their first Test of the November window with head coach Schmidt having a firm eye on the November 17th test with New Zealand, as the world’s top-2 ranked nations collide. They also play Argentina in Dublin the week before.

Johnny Sexton has been left at home, as has Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander and Rory Best, among others.

It’s likely that Joey Carbery will start against the Italians, with Leinster’s Ross Bryne set to make his first appearance for Ireland from the bench, having been unused on the tour of Australia last June.


Another potential debutant is Ulster’s Will Addison who left English Premiership club Sale in the summer to pursue his international ambitions.

Ireland Squad v Italy:
Forwards (15):
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 7
Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 2
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 9
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 62
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 26
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 22
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 50
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Ulster) 23
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 8
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 6
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 19
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 11
Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 9
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 60
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 10

Backs (11):
Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) *
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 9
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) *
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 12
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 7
John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 2
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 6
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 6
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 14
Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 11
Darren Sweetnam (Cork Constitution/Munster) 2

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