Peter O’Mahony and Chris Farell have not been allowed to join the Ireland squad this week at Carton House after the two Munster players were identified as close contacts of a recent Covid case at their province.
Neither player was involved in Munster’s PRO14 win last Saturday over Edinburgh in Limerick and they are continuing a period of self-isolation.
A statement from the Ireland camp read: “Peter O’Mahony and Chris Farrell were identified as close contacts, are Covid clear and will complete the period of isolation before joining the squad on Monday.”
Ireland are building towards the resumption of their delayed Six Nations campaign, starting with the October 24 meeting in Dublin against Italy and finishing with a trip to Paris to take on France on October 31.
Andy Farrell last week announced a 35-man squad containing six uncapped players. That squad is now down to 34 following the injury loss of Jordan Larmour, who dislocated a shoulder playing for Leinster at Benetton. No replacement has been called in.
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Uncapped Ryan Baird, who strained an adductor muscle in that same Leinster match, has been replaced by Connacht’s Ultan Dillane who played off the bench in Ireland’s last outing, the February hammering at Twickenham by England.
The IRFU statement added: “Finlay Bealham and Dave Heffernan are progressing through the return to play protocols. Johnny Sexton, Ronan Kelleher and Andrew Porter will be monitored this week with a view to commencing training next week.” Sexton suffered a hamstring issue when playing for Leinster twelve days ago.
Ireland coach Farrell is also waiting to learn the fate of Iain Henderson, the Ulster captain who was sent off near the end of his team’s PRO14 win last Saturday at Ospreys after his shoulder connected the head of Dan Evans. A suspension could see James Ryan paired with Tadhg Beirne in the second row to start against the Italians.
'I had it in my head I wanted to coach because I was only 23 and thought I was going to be finishing up with injury'
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 11, 2020
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